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"the power-house," etc. 



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4^«V) couj 


UiL 221919 

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During the past year, in the intervals of an active Itfe, I have 
amused myself with constructing this tale. It has been scribbled 
in every kind of odd place and moment — in England and abroad^ 
during long journeys j in half-hours between graver tasks; and it 
bears, I fear , the mark of its gipsy begetting. But it has amused 
me to write, and I shall be weU repaid if it amuses you — and a 
few others — to read. 

Let no man or woman call its events improbable. The war has 
driven that word from our vocabulary, and mdodrama has become 
the prosiest realism. Things unimagined before happen daily to 
our friends by sea and land. The one chance in a thousand is 
habitually taken, and as often as not succeeds. Coincidence, like 
some new Briareus, stretches a hundred long arms hourly across 
the earth. Some day, when the full history is written — sober 
history with ample documents — the poor romancer wHl give up 
business and fall to reading Miss Austin in a hermitage. 

The characters of the tale, if you think hard, you wUl recall. 
Sandy you know well. That great spirit was last heard of at 
Basra, where he occupies the post which once was Harry Bullivanfs. 
Richard Hanruiy is where he longed to be, commanding his bat- 
talion on the ugliest bit of front in the West. Mr. John 5. 
Blenkiron, full of honour and wholly cured of dyspepsia, has\ 
relumed to the States, after vainly endeavouring to take Peter 
with him. As for Peter, he has attained the height of his ambitions 
He has shaved his beard and joined the Flying Corps. 

J. B. 



























A Mission is Proposed ii 

The Gathering of the Missionaries . 23 

Peter Pienaar 42 

Adventures of Two Dutchmen on the 

Loose 57 

Further Adventures of the Same . . 73 

The Indiscretions of the Same ... 89 

Christmastide 107 

The Essen Barges 124 

The Return of the Straggler . . . 137 

The Garden-House of Suliman the Red 152 

The Companions of the Rosy Hours . 164 

Four Missionaries See Light in their 

Mission 179 

I Move in Good Society 192 

The Lady of the Mantilla . . . ^ 207 

An Embarrassed Toilet 221 

The Battered Caravanserai .... 239 

Trouble by the Waters of Babylon . 253 

Sparrows on the Housetops .... 267 

Greenmantle 280 

Peter Pienaar Goes to the Wars . . 292 

The Little Hill 311 

The Guns of the North 331 







I HAD just finished breakfast and was filling my pipe 
when I got BuUivant's telegram. It was at Fur- 
ling, the big country house in Hampshire where I had 
come to convalesce after Loos, and Sandy, who was 
in the same case, was hunting for the marmalade. I 
flung him the flimsy with the blue strip pasted down 
on it, and he whistled. 

"Hullo, Dick, you've got the battalion. Or maybe 
it's a staff billet. You'll be a blighted brass-'hat, 
coming it heavy over the hard-working regimental 
oflicer. And to think of the language you've wasted 
on brass-hats in your time I" 

I sat and thought for a bit, for that name "BuUi- 
vant" carried me back eighteen months to the hot 
summer before the war. I had not seen the man 
since, though I had read about him in the papers. 
For more than a year I had been a busy battalion 
oflicer, with no other thought tiian to hammer a lot 
of raw stuff into good soldiers. I had succeeded 
pretty well, and there was no prouder man on earth 
than Richard Hannay when he took his Lennox 
Highlanders over the parapets on that glorious and 



bloody 25th day of September. Loos was no picnic, 
and we had had some ugly bits of scrapping before 
that, but the worst bit of the campaign I had seen 
was a tea-party to the show I had been in with Bulli- 
vant before the war started. 

The sight of that name on a telegf am form seemed 
to change all my outlook on life. I had been hoping 
for the command of the battalion, and looking for- 
ward to being in at the finish with Brother Boche. 
But this message jerked my thoughts on a new road. 
There might be other things in the war than straight- 
forward fighting. Why on earth should the Foreign 
Ofiice want to see an obscure Major of the New Army, 
and want to see him in double-quick time ? 

"I'm going up to town by the ten train," I an- 
nounced; "I'll be back in time for dinner." 

"Try my tailor," said Sandy. "He's got a very 
nice taste in red tabs. You can use my name." 

An idea struck me. "You're pretty well all right 
now. If I wire for you, will you padc your own kit 
and mine and join me?" 

"Right-ol I'll accept a job on your staff if they 
give you a corps. If so be as you come down to-night, 
be a good chap and bring a barrel of oysters from 

I travelled up to London in a regular November 
drizzle, which cleared up about Wimbledon to watery 
sunshine. I never could stand London during the 
war. It seemed to have lost its bearings and broken 
out into all manner of badges and uniforms which 
did not fit in with my notion of it. One felt the 
war more in its streets than in the field, or rather one 
felt the confusion of war without feeling the purpose, 
I dare say it was all right; but since August 19 H I 




never spent a day in town without coming home de- 
pressed to my boots, 

I took a taxi and drove straight to the Foreign 
OflGice. Sir Walter did not keep me waiting long. But 
when his secretary took me to his room I would not 
have recognised thc^ man I had known eighteen months 

His big frame seemed to have dropped flesh and 
there was a stoop in the square shoulders. His face 
had lost its rosiness and was red in patches like a man 
who gets too little fresh air. His hair was much 
greyer and very thin about the temples, and there 
were lines of overwork below the eyes. But the eyes 
were the same as before, keen and kindly and shrewd, 
and there was no change in the firm set of the jaw. 

"We must on no account be disturbed for the next 
hour," he told his secretary. When the young man 
had gone he went across to both doors and turned 
the key in them. 

"Well, Major Hannay," he said, flinging himself 
into a chair beside the fire. "How do you like 

"Right enough," I said, "though this isn*t just 
the kind of war I would have picked myself. It's a 
comfortless, bloody business. But we've got the 
measure of the old Boche now, and it's dogged as 
does it. I count on getting back to the Front in a 
week or two." 

"Will you get the battalion?" he asked. He 
seemed to have followed my doings pretty closely. 

"I believe I've a good chance. I'm not in this show 
for honour and glory, though. I want to do the best 
I can, but I wish to Heaven it was over. All I think 
of is coming out of it with a whole skin.'* 




He laughed. **You do yourself an injustice. What 
about the forward observation post at the Lone Tree ? 
You forgot about the whole skin then.'* 

I felt myself getting red. "That was all rot," I 
said, "and I can't think who told you about it. I hated 
the job, but I had to do it to prevent my subalterns 
going to glory. They were a lot of fire-eating young 
lunatics. If I had sent one of them he'd have gone 
on his knees to Providence and asked for trouble." 

Sir Walter was still grinning. 

"I'm not questioning your caution. You have the 
rudiments of it, or our friends of the Black Stone 
would have gathered you in at our last merry meeting. 
I would question it as little as your courage. What 
exercises niy mind is whether it is best employed in tne 

"Is the War Office dissatisfied with me?" I asked 

"They are profoundly satisfied. They propose to 
give you command of your battalion. Presently, if 
you escape a stray bullet, you will no doubt be a Briga- 
dier. It is a wonderful war for youth and brains. 
But ... I take it you are in this business to serve 
your country, Hannay?" 

"I reckon I am," I said. "I am certainly not in 
it for my health," 

He looked at my leg, where the doctors had dug 
out the shrapnel fragments, and smiled quizzically. 
"Pretty fit again?" he asked. 

"Tough as a sjambok. I thrive on the racket and 
eat and sleep like a schoolboy." 

He got up and stood with his back to the fire, his 
eyes staring abstractedly out of the window at the 
wintry park. 



"It is a great game, and you are the man for it, 
no doubt. But there are others who can play it, for 
soldiering to-day asks for the average rather than the 
exception in human nature. It is like a big machine 
where the parts are standardised. You are fighting, 
hot because you are short of a job, but because you 
want to help England. How if you could help her 
better than by commanding a battalion— or a brigade 
—or, if it comes to that, a division ? How if there is 
a thing which you alone can do ? Not some emhusque 
business in an office, but a thing compared to which 
your fight at Loos was a Sunday-school picnic. You 
are not afraid of danger? Well, in this job you would 
not be fighting with an army around you, but alone. 
You are fond of tackling difficulties? Well, I can 
give you a task which will try all your powers. Have 
you anything to say?" 

My heart was beginning to thump uncomfortably. 
Sir Walter was not the man to pitch a case too high. 

"I am a soldier,*' I said, "and under orders." 

"True; but what I am about to propose does not 
come by any conceivable stretch within the scope of 
a soldier's duties. I shall perfectly understand if you 
decline. You will be acting as I should act myself — 
as any sane man would. I would not press you for 
worlds. If you wish it, I will not even make the 
proposal, but let you go here and now, and wish you 
good luck with your battalion. I do not wish to per- 
plex a good soldier with impossible decisions." 

This piqued me and put me on my mettle. 

"I am not going to run away before the guns fire. 
Let me hear what you propose." 

Sir Walter crossed to a cabinet, unlocked it with a 
key from his chain, and took a piece of paper from a 



drawer. It looked like an ordinary half-sheet of note- 

"I take it," he said, "that your travels have not 
extended to the East." 

"No," I said, "barring a shooting trip in East * 

"Have you by any chance been following the pres- 
ent campaign there?" 

"I've read the newspapers pretty regularly since 
I went to hospital. I've got some pals in the Meso- 
potamia show, and of course I'm keen to know what 
is going to happen at Gallipoli and Salonika. I gather 
that Egj^t is pretty safe." 

"If you will give me your attention for ten minutes 
I will supplement your newspaper reading." 

Sir Walter lay back in an arm-chair and spoke to 
the ceiling. It was the best story, the clearest and 
the fullest, I had ever got of any bit of the war. He 
told me just how and why and when Turkey had left 
the rails. I heard about her grievances over our 
seizure of her ironclads, of the mischief the coming of 
the Goehen had wrought, of Enver and his precious 
Committee and the way they had got a cinch on the 
old Turk. When he had spoken for a bit, he began 
to question me. 

"You are an intelligent fellow, and you will ask how 
a Polish adventurer, meaning Enver, and a collection 
of Jews and gipsies, should have got control of a proud 
race. The ordinary man will tell you that it was Ger- 
man organisation backed up with German money and 
German arms. You will inquire again how, since Tur- 
key is primarily a religious power, Islam has played 
so small a part in it all. The Sheikh-ul-Mam is neg- 
lected, and though the Kaiser proclaims a Holy War 



and calls himself Hadji Mahomet GuiUiamo, and says 
the HohenzoUems are descended from the Prophet, 
that seems to have fallen pretty flat. The ordinary 
man again will answer that Islam in Turkey is becom- 
ing a back number, and that Krupp guns are the new 
gods. Yet — I don't know. I do not quite believe in 
Islam becoming a back number. 

"Look at it In another way," he went on. "If it 
were Enver and Germany alone dragging Turkey into 
a European war for purposes that no Turk cared a 
rush about, we might expect to find the regular army 
obedient, and Constantinople. But In the provinces, 
where Islam Is strong, there would be trouble. Many 
of us counted on that. But we have been disap- 
pointed. The Syrian army Is as fanatical as the 
hordes of the Mahdi. The Senussi have taken a hand 
in the game. The Persian Moslems are threatening 
trouble. There is a dry wind blowing through the 
East, and the parched grasses wait the spark. And 
the wind Is blowing towards the Indian border. 
\Wiencc comes that wind, think you?'* 

Sir Walter had lowered his voice and was speaking 
very slow and distinct. I could hear the rain dripping 
from the eaves of the window, and far off the hoot of 
taxis !h Whitehall. 

"Have you an explanation, Hannay?" he asked 

"It looks as if Islam had a bigger hand In the thing 
than we thought," I said. "I fancy religion Is the only 
thing to knit up such a scattered empire." 

"You are right," he said. "You must be right. We 
have laughed at the Holy War, the Jehad that old 
Von der Goltz prophesied. But I believe that stupid 



old man with the big spectacles was right. There is a 
Jehad preparing. The question is, How?" 

"I'm hanged if I know," I said; "but Til bet it won't 
be dohe by a pack of stout German officers in picket- 
haubes. I fancy you can't manufacture Holy Wars out 
of Krupp guns alone and a few staff officers and a 
battle-cruiser with her boilers burst." 

"Agreed. They are not fools, however much we 
try to persuade ourselves of the contrary. But sup- 
posing they had got some tremendous sacred sanction 
— some holy thing, some book or gospel or some new 
prophet from the desert, something which would cast 
over the whole ugly mechanism of German war the 
glamour of the old torrential raids which crumpled 
the Byzantine Empire and shook the walls of Vienna ? 
Islam is a fighting creed, and the mullah still stands in 
the pulpit with the Koran in one hand and a drawn 
sword in the other. Supposing there is some Ark of 
the Covenant which will madden the remotest Moslem 
peasant with dreams of Paradise? What then, my 

"Then there will be hell let loose in those parts 
pretty soon." 

"Hell which may spread. Beyond Persia, remem- 
ber, lies India." 

"You keep to suppositions. How much do you 
know?" I asked. 

"Very little, except the fact. But the fact is beyond 
dispute. I have reports from agents everywhere — 
pedlars in South Russia, Afghan horse-dealers, Tur- 
coman merchants, pilgrims on the road to Mecca, 
sheikhs in North Africa, sailors on the Black Sea coast- 
ers, sharp-skinned Mongols, Hindu fakirs, Greek trad- 
ers in the Gulf, as well as respectable Consuls who use 



cyphers. They tell the same story. The East Is wait- 
ing for a revelation. It has been promised one. Some 
star — ^man, prophecy, or trinket — is coming out of the 
West. The Germans know, and that is the card with 
which they are going to astonish the world." 

"And the mission you spoke of for me is to go and 
find out?" 

He nodded gravely. "That is the crazy and impos- 
sible mission." 

"Tell me one thing, Sir Walter," I said. "I know 
it is the fashion in this country if a man has special 
knowledge to set him to some job exactly the opposite. 
I know all about Damaraland, but instead of being put 
on Botha's staff, as I applied to be, I was kept in Hamp- 
shire mud till the campaign in German South West 
Africa was over. I know a man who could pass as an 
Arab, but do you think they would send him to the 
East ? . They left him in my battalion — a lucky thirjg 
for me, for he saved my life at Loos. I know the 
fashion, but isn't this just carrying it a bit too far? 
There must be thousands of men who have spent years 
in the East and talk any language. They're the fel- 
lows for thrs job. I never saw a Turk in my life except 
a chap who did wrestling turns in a show at Kimberley. 
You've picked about the most useless man on earth." 

"You've been a mining-engineer, Hannay," Sir 
Walter said. "If you wanted a man to prospect for 
gold in Barotseland you would of course like to get 
one who knew the country and the people and the 
language. But the first thing you would require in him 
would be that he had a nose for finding gold and knew 
his business. That is the position now. I believe that 
you have a nose for finding out what our enemies try 
to hide. I know that you are brave and cool and 



resourceful. That is why I tell you the story. Be- 
sides . . ." 

He unrolled a big map of Europe on the wall. 

"I can't tell you where you'll get on the track of the 
secret, but I can put a limit to the quest. You won't 
find it east of the Bosphorus — not yet. It is still in 
Europe. It may be in Constantinople, or in Thrace. 
It may be farther west. But it is moving eastwards. 
If you are in time you may cut into its march to Con- 
stantinople. That much I can tell you. The secret is 
known in Germany, too, to those whom it concerns. It 
is in Europe that the seeker must search — ^at present." 

"Tell me more," I said. "You can give me no 
details and no instructions. Obviously you can give me 
no help if I come to grief." 

He nodded. "You would be beyond the pale." 

"You give me a free hand." 

"Absolutely. You can have what' money you like, 
and you can get what help you like. You can follow 
any plan you fancy, and go anywhere you think fruit- 
ful. We can give no directions." 

"One last question. You say it is important. Tell 
me just how important." 

"It is life and death," he said solemnly. "I can 
put it no higher and no lower. Once we know what 
is the menace we can meet it. As long as we are in 
the dark it works unchecked and we may be too late. 
The war must be woh or lost in Europe. Yes; but if 
the East blazes up, our effort will be distracted from 
Europe and the great coup may fail. The stakes are 
no less than victory and defeat, Hannay." 

I got out of my chair and walked to the window. 
It was a difficult moment in my life. I was happy 
in my soldiering; above all, happy in the company of 



my brother officers. I was asked to go off into the 
enemy's lands on a quest for which I believed I was 
manifestly unfitted — a business of lonely days and 
nights, of nerve-racking strain, of deadly peril shroud- 
ing me like a garment. Looking out on the bleak 
weather I shivered. It was too grim a business, too 
inhuman for flesh and blood. But Sir Walter had 
called it a matter of life and death, and I had told him 
that I was out to serve my country. He could not give 
me orders, but was I not under orders — higher orders 
than my Brigadier's? I thought myself incompetent, 
but cleverer men than me thought me competent, or 
at least competent enough for a sporting chance. I 
knew in my soul that if I declined I should never be 
quite at peace in the world again. And yet Sir Walter 
had called the scheme madness, and said that he him- 
self would never have accepted. 

How does one make a great decision? I swear that 
when I turned roimd to speak I meant to, refuse. But 
my answer was Yes, and I had crossed the rubicon. 
My voice sounded cracked and far away. 

Sir Walter shook hands with me and his eyes blinked 
a little. "I may be sending you to your death, Han- 
nay. — Good GckI, what a damned taskmistress duty 
is! — If so, I shall be haunted with regrets, but you 
will never repent. Have no fear of that. You have 
chosen the roughest road, but it goes straight to the 

He handed me the half-sheet of note-paper. On it 
were written three words — "Kasredin/' "cancer/* and 
"v. I." 

"That is the only clue we possess,'' he said. "I 
cannot construe it, but I can tell you the story. We 
have had our agents working in Persia and Mesopo- 



tamia for years — ^mostly young officers of the Indian 
Army. They carry their lives in their hand, and now 
and then one disappears, and the sewers of Bagdad 
might tell a tale. But they find out many things, and 
they count the game worth the candle. They have 
told us of the star rising in the West, but they could 
give us no details. All but one — ^the best of them. He 
had been working between Mosul and the Persian 
frontier as a muleteer, and had been south into the 
Bakhtiari hills. He found out soniething, but his ene- 
mies knew that he knew and he was pursued. Three 
months ago, just before Kut, he staggered into Dela- 
main^s camp with ten bullet holes in him and a knife 
slash on his forehead. He mumbled his name, but 
beyond that and the fact that there was a Something 
coming from the west he told them nothing. He died 
in ten minutes. They found this paper on him, and 
since he cried out the word "Kasredin" in his last 
moments, it must have had something to do with his 
quest. It is for you to find out If it has any meaning." 

I folded it up and placed in it my pocket-book. 

"What a great fellow 1 What was his name?" I 

Sir Walter did not answer at once. He was look- 
ing out of the window. "His name," he said at last, 
'Vas Harry Bullivant. He was my son. God rest his 
brave soul!" 




I WROTE out a wire to Sandy, asking him to come 
up by die two-fifteen train and meet me at my flat. 

"I have chosen my colleague," I said. 

**Billy Arbuthnot's boy? His father was at Harrow 
with me. I know the fellow — Harry used to bring 
him down to fish — ^tallish, with a lean, high-boned face 
and a pair of brown eyes like a pretty girl's. I know 
his record, too. There's a good deal about him in 
this office. He rode through Yemen, which no white 
man ever did before. The Arabs let him pass, for 
they thought him stark mad and argued that the hand 
of Allah was heavy enough on him without their 
efforts. He's blood-brother to every kind of Albanian 
bandit. Also he used to take a hand in Turkish poli- 
tics, and got a huge reputation. Some Englishman was 
once complaining to old Mahmoud Shevkat about the 
scarcity of statesmen in Western Europe, and Mah- 
moud broke in with, 'Have you got the Honourable 
Arbuthnot?' You say he's in your battalion. I was 
wondering what had become of him, for we tried to 
get hold of him here, but he had left no address. 
Ludovick Arbuthnot — yes, that's the man. Buried 
deep in the commissioned ranks of the New Army? 
Well, we'll get him out pretty quick 1" 

"I knew he had knocked about the East, but I didn't 



know he was that kind of swell. Sandy's not the chap 
to buck about himself." 

"He wouldn't," said Sir Walter. "He had always 
a moje than Oriental reticence. I've got another col- 
league for you, if you like him." 

He looked at his watch. "You can get to the Savoy 
Grill Room in five minutes in a taxi-cab. Go in from 
the Strand, turn to your left, and you will see in the 
alcove on the right-hand side a table with one large 
American gentleman sitting at it. They know him 
there, so he will have the table to himself. I want you 
to go and sit down beside him. Say you come from 
me. His name is Mr. John Scantlebury Blenkiron, 
and a citizen of Boston, Mass., but bom in Carolina 
and raised in Indiana. Put this envelope in your 
pocket, but don't read its contents till you have talked 
to him. I want you to form your own opinion about 
Mr. Blenkiron." 

I went out of the Foreign Office in as muddled a 
frame of mind as any diplomatist who ever left its 
portals. I was most desperately depressed. To begin 
with, I was in a complete funk. I've always thought I 
was about as brave as the average man, but diere's 
courage and courage, and mine was certainly not the 
impassive kind. Stick me down in a trench and I could 
stand being shot at as well as most people, and my 
blood could get hot if it were g^ven a chance. But I 
think I had too much imagination. I couldn't shake off 
the beastly forecasts that kept crowding my mind. 

In about a fortnight I calculated I would be dead. 
Shot as a spy — a rotten sort of ending! At the mo- 
ment I was quite safe, looking for a taxi in the middle 
of Whitehall, but the sweat broke on my forehead. 
I felt as I had felt in my adventure before the war. 



But this was far worse, for it was more cold-blooded 
and premeditated, and I didn't seem to have even a 
sporting chance. I watched the figures in khaki pass- 
ing on the pavement, and thought what a nice safe 
prospect they had compared to mine. Yes, even if next 
week they were in the Hohenzollem, or the Hairpin 
trench at the Quarries, or that ugly angle at Hooge. 
I wondered why I had not been happier that morning 
before I got that infernal wire. Suddenly all the trivi- 
alities of English life seemed to me inexpressibly dear 
and terribly far away. I was very angry with Bulli- 
vant, till I remembered how fair he had been. My 
fate was my own choosing. 

When I was hunting the Black Stone the interest of 
the problem had helped to keep me going. But now 
I could see no problem. My mind had nothing to 
work on but three words of gibberish on a sheet of 
paper and a mystery of which Sir Walter had been 
convinced, but to which he couldn't give a name. It 
was like a story I had read of St. Theresa setting off 
at the age of ten with her small brother to convert 
the Moors. I sat huddled in the taxi with my chin on 
my breast, wishing that I had lost a leg at Loos and 
been comfortably tucked away for the rest of the war. 

Sure enough I found my man in the Grill Room. 
|There he was, feeding solemnly, with a napkin tucked 
under his chin. He was a big fellow with a fat, sallow, 
clean-shaven face. I disregarded the hovering waiter 
and pulled up a chair beside the American at the little 
table. He turned on me a pair of full sleepy eyes, like 
a ruminating ox. 

"Mr. Blenkiron?" I asked. 

"You have my name, sir," he said. "Mr. John 
Scantlebury Blenkiron. I would wish you good mom- 



ing if I saw anything good in this darned British 

"I come from Sir Walter Bullivant," I said, speak- 
ing low. 

"So?" said he- "Sir Walter is a very good friend 
of mine. Pleased to meet you, Mr. — or I guess it's 
Colonel " 

"Hannay," I said; "Major Hannay." 1 was won- 
dering what this sleepy Yankee could do to help me. 

"Allow me to offer you luncheon, Major. Here, 
waiter, bring the carte. I regret that I cannot join 
you in sampling the efforts of the management of this 
ho-tel. I suffer, sir, from dyspepsia — duo-denal 
dyspepsia. It gets me two hours after a meal and 
g^ves me hell just below the breast-bone. So I am 
obliged to adopt a diet. My nourishment is fishj sir, 
and boiled milk and a little dry toast. It's a melan- 
choly descent from the days when I could do justice 
to a lunch at Sherry's and sup off oyster-crabs and 
devilled bones." He sighed from the depths of his 
capacious frame. 

I ordered an omelette and a chop, and took another 
look at him. The large eyes seemed to be gazing 
steadily at me without seeing me. They were as va- 
cant as an abstracted child's; but I had an uncom- 
fortable feeling that they saw more than mine. 

**You have seen fighting. Major? The Battle of 
Loos? Well, I guess that must have been some battle. 
We in America respect the fighting of the British 
soldier, but we don't quite catch on to the de-vices of 
the Britis^h Generals. We opine that there is more 
bellicosity than science among your highbrows. That 
is so? My father fought at Chattanooga, but these 
eyes have seen nothing gorier than a Presidential elec- 



tion. Say, is there any way I could be let Into a scene 
of real bloodshed?" 

His serious tone made me laugh. "There are plenty 
of your countrymen in the present show," I said. "T^e 
French Foreign Legion is full of young Americans, 
and so is our Army Service Corps. Half the chauf- 
feurs you strike in France seem to come from the 

He signed. "I did think of some belligerent stunt 
a year back. But I reflected that the good God had 
not given John S. Blenkiron the kind of martial figure 
that would do credit to the tented field. Also I recol- 
lected that we Americans were nootrals — ^benevolent 
nootrals — and that it did not become me to be butting 
into the struggles of the effete monarchies of Europe. 
So I stopped at home. It was a big renunciation, 
Major, for I was lying sick during the Philippines busi- 
ness, and I have never seen the lawless passions of men 
let loose on a battlefield. And, as a stoodent of 
humanity, I hankered for the experience." 

"What have you been doing?" I asked. The calm 
gentleman had begun to interest me. 

"Wall," he said, "I just waited. The Lord has 
blessed me with money to bum, so I didn't need to 
go scrambling like a wild cat for war contracts. But 
I reckoned I would get let into the game somehow, 
and I was. Being a nootral, I was in an advantageous 
position to take a hand. I had a pretty hectic time for 
a while, and^ then I reckoned I would leave God's 
country and see what was doing in Europe. I have 
counted myself out of the bloodshed business, but, as 
your poet sings, peace has its victories not less re- 
nowned than war, and I reckon that means that a 



nootral can have a share in a scrap as well as a beU 

"That's the best kind of neutrality I've ever heard 
of," I said. 

"It's the right kind," he replied solemnly. "Say, 
Major, what are your lot fighting for? For your own 
skins and your Empire and the peace of Europe. 
Wall, those ideals don't concern us one cent. We're 
not Europeans, and there aren't any German trenches 
on Long Island yet. You've made the ring in Europe, 
and if we came butting in it wouldn't be the rules of 
the game. You wouldn't welcome us, and I guess 
you'd be right. We're that delicate-minded we can't 
interfere, and that was what my friend, President Wil- 
son, meant when he opined that America was too proud 
to fight. So we're nootrals. But likewise we're benev- 
olent nootrals. As I follow events, there's a skunk 
been let loose in the world, and the odour of it is going 
to make life none too sweet till it is cleared away. It 
wasn't us that stirred up that skunk, but we've got to 
take a hand in disinfecting this planet. See? We 
can't fight, but, by God I some of us are going to sweat 
blood to sweep the mess up. Officially we do nothing 
except give off Notes as a leaky boiler gives off steam. 
But as individooal citizens we're in it up to the neck. 
So, in the spirit of Jefferson Davis and Woodrow 
Wilson, I'm going to be the nootralist kind of nootral 
till Kaiser will wish to God he had declared war on 
America at the beginning." 

I was completely recovering my temper. This 
fellow was a perfect jewel, and his spirit put purpose 
into me. 

"I guess you British were the same kind of nootral 
when your Admiral warned off the German fleet from 



interfering with Dewey in Manila Bay in '98." Mr. 
Blenkiron drank up the last drop of the boiled milk, 
and lit a thin 'black cigar. 

I leaned forward. "Have you talked to Sir Wal- 
ter?" I asked. 

''I have talked to him, and he has given me to under- 
stand that there's a deal ahead which you're going to 
boss. There are no flies on that big man, and if he 
says it's good business then you can count me in.^' 

*'You know that it's uncommonly dangerous?" 

"I judged so. But it don't do to begin counting 
risks. I believe in an all-wise and beneficent Provi- 
dence, but you have got to trust Him and give Him a 
chance. What's life anyhow? For me, it's living 
on a strict diet and having frequent pains in my stom- 
ach. It isn't such an almighty lot to give up, provided 
you get a good price in the deal. Besides, how big is 
the risk? About one o'clock in the morning, when you 
can't sleep, it will be the size of Mount Everest, but 
if you run out to meet it, it will be a hillock you can 
jump over. The grizzly looks very fierce when you're 
taking your ticket for the Rockies and wondering if 
you'll come back, but he's just an ordinary bear when 
you've got the sight of your rifle on him. I won't think 
about risks till I'm up to my neck in them and don't see 
the road out." 

I scribbled my address on a piece of paper and 
handed it to the stout philosopher. "Come to dinner 
to-night at eight," I said. 

"I thank you. Major. A little fish, please, plain- 
boiled, and some hot milk. You will forgive me if I 
borrow your couch after the meal and spend the eve- 
ning on my back. That is the advice of my noo 



I got a taxi and drove to my club. On the way I 
opened the envelope Sir Walter had given me. It 
contained a number of jottings, the dossier of Mr. 
Blenkiron. He had done wonders for the Allies in 
the States. He had nosed out the Dumba plot, and 
had been instrumental in getting the portfolio of Dr. 
Albert. Von Papen's spies had tried to murder him, 
after he had defeated an attempt to blow up one of 
the big guii factories. Sir Walter had written at the 
end: *'The best man we ever had. Better than 
Scudder. He would go through hell with a box of 
bismuth tablets and a pack of Patience cards/' 

I went into the little back smoking-room, borrowed 
an atlas from the library, poked up the fire, and sat 
down to think. Mr. Blenkiron had given me the fillip 
I needed. My mind was beginning to work now, and 
was running wide over the whole business. Not that 
I hoped to find anything by my cogitations. It wasn't 
thinking in an arm-chair that would solve the mystery. 
But I was getting a sort of grip on a plan of opera- 
tions. And to my relief I had stopped thinking about 
the risks. Blenkiron had shamed me out of that. If a 
sedentary dyspeptic could show that kind of nerve, I 
wasn't going to be behind him. 

I went back to my flat about five o'clock. My man 
Paddock had gone to the wars long ago, so I had 
shifted to one of these new blocks in Park Lane where 
they provide food and service. I kept the place on 
to have a home to go to when I got leave. It's a 
miserable business holidaying in a hotel. 

Sandy was devouring tea-cakes with the serious reso- 
lution of a convalescent. 

"Well, Dick, what's the news? Is it a brass hat or 
the boot?" 





"Neither," I said. "But. you and I are going to 
disappear from His Majesty's forces. Seconded for 
special service." 

"O my sainted auntl" said Sandy. "What is it? 
For Heaven's sake put me out of pain. Have we to 
tout deputations of suspicious neutrals over munition 
works or take the shivering journalist in a motor-car 
where he can imagine he sees a Boche?" 

"The news will keep. But I can tell you this much. 
It's about as safe and easy as to go through the Ger* 
man lines with a walking-stick." 

"Come, that's not so dusty," said Sandy, and began 
cheerfully on the muffins. 

I must spare a moment to introduce Sandy to the 
reader, for he cannot be allowed to slip into this tale 
by a side-door. If you will consult the Peerage you 
will find that to Edward Cospatrick, fifteenth Baron 
Clanroyden, there was born in the year 1882, as his 
second son, Ludovick Gustavus Arbuthnot, commonly 
called the Honourable etc. The said son was educated 
at Eton and New College, Oxford, was a. captain in 
the Tweeddale Yeomanry, and served for some years 
as honorary attache at various embassies. The Peer- 
age will stop short at this point, but that is by no means 
the end of the story. For the rest you must consult 
very different authorities. Lean brown men from the 
ends of the earth may be seen on the London pave- 
ments now and then in creased clothes, walking with 
the light outland step, slinking into clubs as if they 
could not remember whether or not they belonged to 
them. From them you may get news of Sandy. Better 
still, you will hear of him at little forgotten fishing 
ports where the Albanian mountains dip to the Adri- 
atic. If you struck a Mecca pilgrimage the odds are 




you would meet a dozen of Sandy's friends in it. In 
shepherds' huts in the Caucasus you will find bits of 
his cast-oS clothing, for he has a knack of shedding 
garments as he goes. In the caravanserais of Bokhara 
and Samarkand he is known, and there are shikaris in 
the Pamirs who still speak of him round their fires. 
If you were going to visit Petrograd or Rome or Cairo 
it would be no use asking him for introductions; if 
he gave them, they would lead you into strange haunts. 
But if Fate compelled you to go to Llasa or Yarkand 
or Seistan he could map out your road for you and pass 
the word to potent friends. We call ourselves insular, 
but the truth is that we are the only race on earth that 
can produce men capable of getting inside the skin of 
remote peoples. Perhaps the Scotch are better than 
the English, but we're all a thousand per cent, better 
than anybody else. Sandy was the wandering Scot 
carried to the pitch of genius. In old days he would " 
have led a crusade or discovered a new road to the 
Indies. To-day he merely roamed as the spirit moved 
him, till the war swept him up and dumped him down 
in my battalion. 

I got out Sir Walter's half-sheet of note-paper. It 
was not the original — ^naturally he wanted to keep 
that — but it was a careful tracing. I took it that 
Harry Bullivant had not written down the words as 
a memo, for his own use. People who follow his 
career have good memories. He must have written 
them in order that, if he perished and his body was 
found, his friends might get a clue. Wherefore, I 
argued, the words must be intelligible to somebody 
or other of our persuasion, and likewise they must be 
pretty well gibberish to any Turk or German that 
found them. 




The first, "Kasredin/^ I could make nothing of. 

I asked Sandy. 

"You mean Nasr-ed-din," he said, still munching 

"What's that?" I asked sharply. * 

"He's the General 'believed to be commanding . 
against us in Mesopotamia. I remember him years 
ago in Aleppo. He talked bad French and drank the 
sweetest of sweet champagne." 

I looked closely at the paper. The "K" was unmis^ 

"Kasredin is nothing. It means in Arabic the House 
of Faith, and might cover anything from Hag^a Sofia 
to a suburban villa. What's your next puzzle, Dick? 
Have you entered for a prize competition in a weekly 

''Cancer/' I read out. 

"It is the Latin for a crab. Likewise it is the name 
of a painful disease. It is also a sign of the Zodiac." 

''v. I," I read. 

"There you have me. It soxmds like the number 
of a motor-car. The police would find out for you. 
1 call this rather a difficult competition. What's the 
prize ?" 

I passed him the paper. "Who wrote it? It looks 
as if he had been in a hurry." 

"Harry BuUivant," I said. 

Sandy's face grew solemn. "Old Harry. He was 
at my tutor's. The best fellow God ever made. I 
saw his name in the casualty list before Kut . . • 
Harry didn't do things without a purpose. What's 
the' story of this paper?" 

"Wait till after dinner," I said. "I'm going to 



change and have a bath. There's an American coming 

t '^^^ ^' * P^"^ <^^ *l»e business." ^ 

Mr. Blenkiron arrived punctual to the minute in a 

^"n'hU filh* Russian prince's. Now that I saw him 

?L K f * ^ ^'""^^ J"**S« h^™ b<=«er. He had a fat 

•SlS wruTrr' '°° Pj"'"P in figure, and very mus- 

S^lf ;7?lf '^"^^^ ^*^°^ ^» shirt<uffs. I fancied 

nilS'^L*?-'^ i *^^^*^*«y "»eal. but the American 
a a rim^ h>^boiIed fish and ^pped his milk a drop 
at a time. When the servant had cleared away, he 
was as good as his word and laid himself out on my 
sota I offered him a good cigar, but he preferred one 
of his own lean black abominations. Sandy stretched 
ms length m an easy chair and lit his pipe. "Now 
for your story, Dick," he said. 

:ni*J*^^*"l*' ^/ ^^^^^"^ ^^^ ^egun with me, by teU- 
ing them about the puzzle in the Near East. I pitched 
a pretty good yam, for I had been thinking a lot about 
ir, and tiic mystery of the business had caught my 
tanqr. Sandy got very keen. 

,V i* '" Po«S'Wc enough. Indeed, I've been expecting 
Jt, though I'm hanged if I can imagine what card the 
Germans have got up their sleeve. It might be any 
one of twenty things. Thirty years ago there was a 
bogus prophecy that played the devil in Yemen. Or it 
might be a flag such as Ali Wad Helu had, or a jewel 
- iiitc Solomon's necklace in Abyssinia. You never know 

What wiU start off a Jehad I But I rather think it's a 

'.'Where could he get his purchase ?" I asked. 

15t u ^"^J° f^y- If it were merely wild tribesmen 
"Kc the Bcdawm he might have got a reputation a« 


a saint and mirade-worker. Or he might be a fello^, ^ 
that preached a pure religion, like the chap that 
founded the Senussi. But I'm inclined to think he must 
be something extra special if he can put a spell on the 
whole Moslem world. The Turk and the Persian 
wouldn't follow the ordinary new theology game. He 
must be of the Blood. Your Mahdis and Mullahs 
and Imams were nobodies, but they had only a local 
prestige. To capture all Islam — and I gather that is 
what we fear — the man must be of the Koreish, the 
tribe of the Prophet himself." 

"But how could any impostor prove that? for I 
suppose he's an impostor." 

"He would have to combine a lot of claims. His 
descent must be pretty good to begin with, and there 
are families, remember, that claim the Koreish blood. 
Then he'd have to be rather a wonder on his own 
account — saintly, eloquent, and that sort of thing. 
And I expect he'd have to show a sign, though what 
that could be I haven't a notion." 

"You know the East about as well as any living 
man. Do you think that kind of thing is possible?" 
I asked. 

"Perfectly," said Sandy, with a grave face. 

"Well, there's the ground cleared to begin with. 
Then there's the evidence of pretty well every secret 
agent we possess. That all seems to prove the fact. 
But we have no details and no clues except that bit of 
paper." I told them the story of it. 

Sandy studied it with wrinkled brows. "It beats 
me. But it may be the key for all that. A clue may 
be dumb in London and shout aloud at Bagdad." 

"That's just the point I was coming to. Sir Walter 
says this thing is about as important for our cause as 



big guns. He can't give me orders, but he offers the 
job of going out to find what the mischief is. Once he 
knows that, he says he can checkmate it. But it's 
got to be found out ^on, for the mine may be sprung 
at any moment. I've taken on the job. Will you 

Sandy was studying the ceiling. 

*^I should add that it's about as safe as playing 
chuck-farthing at the Loos Cross-roads, the day you 
and I went in. And if we fail nobody can help us." 

*'0h, of course, of course," said Sandy in an ab- 
stracted voice. 

Mr. Blenkiron, having finished his after-dinner re- 
cumbency, had sat up and pulled a small table towards 
him. From his pocket he had taken a pack of Patience 
cards and had begun to play the game called the 
Double Napoleon. He seemed to be oblivious of the 

Suddenly I had a feeling that the whole affair was 
stark lunacy. Here were we three simpletons sitting 
in a London flat and projecting a mission into the 
enemy's citadel without an idea what we were to do 
or how we were to do it. And one of the three was 
looking at the ceiling, and whistling softly through his 
jteeth, and another was playing Patience. The farce of 
/the thing struck me so keenly that I laughed 

Sandy looked at me sharply. 

"You feel like that? Same with me. It's idiocy, 
but all war is idiotic, and the most whole-hearted idiot 
is apt to win. We're to go on this mad trail wherever 
we think we can hit it. Well, I'm with you. But I 
don't mind admitting that I'm in a blue funk. I had 
got myself adjusted to this trench business and was 



quite happy. And now you have hoicked me out, and 
my feet are cold." 

"I don't believe you know what fear is," I said. 

"There you're wrong, Dick," he said earnestly. 
"Every man who isn't a maniac knows fear. I have 
done some daft things, but I never started on them 
without wishing they were over. Once I'm in the 
show I get easier, and by the time I'm coming out 
I'm sorry to leave it. But at the start my feet are 

"Then I take it you're coming?" 

"Rather," he said. "You didn't imagine I would 
go back on you?" 

"And you, sir?" I addressed Blenkiron. 

His game of Patience seemed to be coming out. He 
was completing eight little heaps of cards with a con- 
tented grunt. As I spoke, he raised his sleepy eyes 
and nodded. 

"Why, yes," he said. "You gentlemen mustn't think 
that I haven't been following your most engrossing 
conversation. I guess I haven't missed a syllable. I 
find diat a game of Patience stimulates the digestion 
after meals and conduces to quiet reflection. John Sr 
Blenkiron is with you all the time." 

He shuflled the cards and dealt for a new game. 

I don't think I ever expected a refusal, but this ready 
assent cheered me wonderfully. I couldn't have faced 
the thing alone. 

• "Well, that's settled. Now for ways and means. 
We three have got to put ourselves in the way of 
finding out Germany's secret, and we have to go where 
it is known. Somehow or other we have to get to 
Constantinople, and to beat the biggest area of country 
we must go by different roads. Sandy, my lad, you've 



got to get into Turkey. YouVe the only one of us 
that knows that engaging people. You can't get in 
by Europe very easily, so you must try Asia. What 
about the coast of Asia Minor?" 

"It could be done," he said. "YouM better leave 
that entirely to me. Til find out the best way. I 
suppose the Foreign OflSice will help me to get to the 
jumping-ofl[ place?" 

"Remember," I said, "it*s no good getting too far 
east. The secret, so far as concerns us, is still wefst of 

"I see that. Fll blow in on the Bosporus by a short 

**For you, Mr. Blenkiron, I would suggest a straight 
journey. You're an American, and can travel through 
Germany direct. But I wonder how far your activities 
in New York will allow you to pass as a neutral?" 

"I have considered that, sir," he said. **I have 
given some thought to the pecooliar psychology of the 
great German nation. As I read them they're as 
cunning as cats, and if you play the feline game they 
will outwit you every time. Yes, sir, they are no 
slouches at sleuth-work. If I were to buy a pair of 
false whiskers and dye my hair and dress like a Baptist 
parson and go into Germany on the peace racket, I 
guess they'd be on my trail like a knife, and I should 
be shot as a spy inside of a week or doing solitary in 
the Moabit prison. But they lack the larger vision. 
They can be bluffed, sir. With your approval I shall 
visit the Fatherland as John S. Blenkiron, once a thorn 
in the side of their brightest boys on the other side. 
But it will be a different John S. I guess he will have 
experienced a change of heart. He will have come 
to appreciate the great, pure, noble soul of Germany, 



and he will be sorrowing for his past like a converted 
gun-man at a camp meeting. He will be a victim of 
the meanness and perfidy of the British Government. 
I am going to have a first-class row with your Foreign 
Office about my passport, and I am going to speak 
harsh words about theih up and down this Metropolis. 
I am going to be shadowed by your sleuths at my port 
of embarkation, and I guess I shall run up hard against 
the British Le-gations in Scandinavia. By that time 
our Teutonic friends will have begun to wonder what 
has happened to John S., and to think that maybe they 
have been mistaken in that child. So, when I get to 
Germany they wiU be waiting for me with an open 
mind. Then I reckon my conduct will surprise and 
encourage them. I will confide to them valuable secret 
information about British preparations, and I will 
show up the British lion ai the meanest kind of cur. 
You may trust me to make a good impression. Then 
I guess I shall move eastwards, to see the de-molition 
of the British Empire in those parts. By the way, 
where is the rendezvousf'^ 

"This is the 17th day of November. If we can't 
find out what we want in two months we may chuck 
the job. On the 17th of January we should fore- 
gather in Constantinople. Whoever gets there first 
waits for the others. If by that date we're not all, 
present, it will be considered that the missing manf 
has got into trouble and must be given up. If ever 
we get there we'll be coming from different points and 
in different characters, so we want a rendezvous where 
all kinds of odd folk assemble. Sandy, you know Con- 
stantinople. You fix the meeting-place." 

''I've already thought of that, he said, and going 
to the writing-table he drew a little plan on a sheet 



of paper. "That lane runs down from the Kurdish 
Bazaar in Galata to the ferry of Ratohik. Half-way- 
down on the left-hand side is a cafe kept by a Greek 
called Kuprasso. Behind the cafe is a garden, sur- 
rounded by high walls which were parts of the old 
Byzantine Theatre. At the end of the garden is a 
shanty called the Garden-house of Suliman the Red. 
It has been in its time a dancing-hall and a gambling 
hell, and God knows what else. It's not a place for 
respectable people, but the ends of the earth converge 
there and no questions are asked. That's the best 
spot I can think of for a meeting-place." 

The kettle was simmering by the fire, the night was 
raw, and it seemed the hour for whisky-punch. I 
made a brew for Sandy and myself and boiled some 
milk for Blenkiron. 

"What about language?" I asked. "You're all 
right, Sandy?" 

"I know German fairly well; and I can pass any- 
where as a Turk. The first will do for eavesdropping 
and the second for ordinary business." 
''And you?" I asked Blenkiron. 
I was left out at Pentecost," he said. "I regret to 
confess I have no gift of tongues. But the part I 
have chosen for myself don't require the polyglot. 
/Never forget I'm plain John S. Blenkiron, a citizen 
^ «fv^ great American Republic." 

. ,^^" haven't told us your own line, Dick," Sandy 

A am gping to the Bosporus through Germany, 
and, not being a neutral, it won't be a very cushioned 

Sandy looked grave. 




"That sounds pretty desperate. Is your German 
good enough?" 

"Pretty fair; quite good enough to pass as a native. 
But officially I shall not understand one word. I shall 
be a Boer from Western Cape Colony: one of Maritz's 
old lot who after a bit of trouble has got through 
Angola and reached Europe. I shall talk Dutch and 
nothing else. And, my hat! I shall be pretty bitter 
about the British. There's a powerful lot of good 
swear-words in the TaaL I shall know all about 
Africa, and be panting to get another whack at the 
verdommt rooinek. With luck they may send me to 
the Uganda show or to Egypt, and/ 1 shall take care 
to go by Constantinople. If Fm to deal with Moham- 
medan natives they're bound to show me what hand 
they hold. At least, liiat's the way I look at it." 

We filled our glasses — ^two of punch and one of milk 
— and drank to our next merry meeting. Then Sandy 
began to laugh, and I joined in. The sense of hopeless 
folly again descended on me. The best plans we could 
make were like a few buckets of water to ease the 
drought of the Sahara or the old lady who would have 
stopped the Atlantic with a broom. I thought with 
sympathy of little Saint Theresa. 






OUR various departures were unassuming, all but 
the American's. Sandy spent a busy fortnight 
in his subterranean fashion, now in the British Mu- 
seum, now running about the country to see old explor- 
ing companions, how at the War Office, now at the 
Foreign Office, but mostly in my flat, sunk in an arm- 
chair and meditating. He left finally on December i 
as a King^s Messenger for Cairo. Once there I knew 
the King's Messenger would disappear, and some 
queer Oriental ruffian take his place. It would have 
been impudence in me to inquire into his plans. He 
was the real professional, and I was only tjie dabbler. 
Blenkiron was a different matter. Sir Walter told 
me to look out for squalls, and the twinkle in his eye 
gave me a notion of what was coming. The first thing 
the sportsman did was to write a letter to the papers 
signed with his name. There had been a debate in 
the House of Commons on foreign policy, and the 
speech of some idiot there gave him his cue. He de- 
clared that he had been heart and soid with the British 
at the start, but that he was reluctantly compelled to 
change his views. He said our blockade of Germany 
had broken all the laws of God and humanity, and 
he reckoned that Britain was now the worst exponent 
of Prussianism going. That letter made a fine racket, 



and the paper that printed it had a row with the 

But tha.t was only the beginning of Mr. Blenkiron's 
campaign. He got mixed up with some moimtebanks 
called the League of Democrats against Aggression, 
gentlemen who thought, that Germany was all right if 
we would only keep from hurting her feelings. He 
addressed a meeting under their auspices, which was 
broken up by the crowd, but not before John S. had 
got off his chest a lot of amazing stuff. 1 wasn't there, 
but a man who was told me that he never heard such 
a speech. He said that Germany was right in wanting 
the freedom of the seas, and that America would back 
her up, and that the British Navy was a bigger menace 
to the peace of the world than the Kaiser's army. He 
admitted that he had once thought differently, but he 
was an honest man and not afraid to face facts. The 
oration closed suddenly, when he got a bru^sels-sprout 
in the eye, at which my friend said he swore in a very 
unpacifist style. 

After that he wrote other letters to the press, say- 
ing that there was no more liberty of speech in Eng- 
land, and a lot of scallywags backed him up. Some 
Americans wanted to tar and feather him, and he got 
kicked out of the Savoy. There was an agitation to 
gtt him deported, and questions were asked in Parlia- 
ment, and the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs 
said his department had the matter in hand. I was 
beginning to think that Blenkiron was carrying his 
tomfoolery too far, so I went to see Sir Walter, but 
he told me to keep my mind easy. "Our friend's 
motto is Thorough,' " he said, "and he knows very 
well what he is about. We have officially requested 
him to leave, and he sails from Newcastle on Monday. 



He will be shadowed wherever he goes, and we hope 
to provoke more outbreaks. He is a very capable 

The last I saw of him was on the Saturday after- 
noon when I met him in St. James's Street and offered 
to shake hands. He told me that my uniform was a 
pollution, and made a speech to a small crowd about 
it. They hissed him and he had to get into a taxi. 
As he departed there was just the suspicion of a wink 
in his left eye. On Monday I read that he had gone 
off, and the papers observed that our shores were well 
quit of him. 

I sailed on December 3 from Liverpool in a boat 
bound for the Argentine that was due to put in at 
Lisbon. I had of course to get a Foreign Office 
passport to leave England, but after that my con- 
nection with the Government ceased. All the details 
of my journey were carefully thought out. Lisbon 
would be a good jumping-off place, for it was the 
rendezvous of scallywags from most parts of Africa. 
My kit was an old Gladstone bag, and my clothes 
were the relics of my South African wardrobe. I let 
my beard grow for some days before I sailed, and, 
since it grows fast, I went on board with the kind of 
hairy chin you will see on the young Boer. My name 
was now Brandt, Cornelis Brandt — at least so my pass-| 
port said, and the Foreign Office does not lie. 

There were just two other passengers on that beastly 
boat, and they never appeared till we were out of the 
Bay. I was pretty bad myself, but managed to move 
about all the time, for the frowst in my cabin would 
have sickened a hippo. The old tub took two days 
and a night to waddle from* Ushant to Finisterre. 
Then the weather changed and we came out of snow- 




squalls into something very like summer. The hills 
of Portugal were all blue and yellow like the Kalahari, 
and before we made the Tagus I was beginning to 
forget I had ever left Rhodesia. There was a Dutch- 
man among the sailors with whom I used to patter 
the taal, and but for "Good morning*' and "Good 
evening'* in broken English to the captain, that was 
about all the talking I did on the cruise. 

We dropped anchor off the quays of Lisbon on a 
sUny blue morning, pretty near warm enough to wear 
flannels. I had now got to be very wary. I did not 
leave the ship with the shore-going boat, but made a 
leisurely breakfast. Then I strolled on deck, and 
there, just casting anchor in the middle of the stream, 
was another ship with the blue and white funnel I 
knew so well. I calculated that a month before she 
had been smelling the mangrove swamps of Angola. 
Nothing better could answer my purpose. I proposed 
to board her, pretending I was looking for a friend, 
and come on shore from her, so that any one in Lisbon 
who chose to be curious would think I had landed 
straight from Portuguese Africa. 

I hailed one of the adjacent ruffians, and got into 
his row-boat, with my kit. We reached the vessel — 
they called her the Henry the Navigator — ^just as the 
first shore-boat was leaving. The crowd in it were all 
Portuguese, which suited my book. 

But when I went up the ladder the first man I met 
was old Peter Pienaar. 

Here was a piece of sheer monumental luck. Peter 
had opened his eyes and his mouth, and had got as 
far as "AUemachtig,** wHen I shut him up. 

"Brandt," I said, "Cornelis Brandt. That's my 



name now, and don't you forget it. Who is die cap- 
tain here? Is it still old Sloggett?" 

"3a" said Peter, pulling himself together. "He 
was speaking about you yesterday." 

This was better and better. I sent Peter below to 
get hold of Sloggett, and presently I had a few words 
with that gentleman in his cabin with the door shut. 

"You've got to enter my name on the ship's books. 
I came aboard at Mossamedes. And my name's Cor- 
nelis Brandt." 

At first Sloggett was for objecting. He said it was 
a felony. I told him that I dared say it was, but he 
had got to do it, for reasons which I couldn't give, but 
which were highly creditable to all parties. In the end 
he agreed and I saw it done. I had a pull on old 
Sloggett, for I had known him ever since he owned a 
dissolute tug-boat at Delagoa Bay. 

Then Peter and I went ashore and swaggered into 
Lisbon as if we owned De Beers. We put up at the 
big hotel opposite the railway station, and looked and 
behaved like a pair of low-bred South Africans home 
for a spree. It was a fine bright day, so I hired a 
motor-car and said I would drive it myself. We asked 
the name of some beauty-spot to visit, and were told 
Cintra and shown the road to it. I wanted a quiet 
place to talk, for I had a good deal to say to Peter 

I christened that car the Lusitantan Terror, and it 
was a marvel that we did not smash ourselves up. 
There was something immortally wrong with its steer- 
iiig-gear. Half a dozen times we slewed across the 
road, inviting destruction. But we got there in the 
end, and had luncheon in an hotel opposite the Moorish 
palace. There we left the car and wandered up the 



slopes of a hill, where, sitting among scrub very like 
the veld, I told Peter the situation of aifairs. 

But first a word must be said about Peter. He was 
the man that taught me all I ever knew of veld-craft, 
and a good deal about human nature besides. He 
was out of the Old Colony — Burgersdorp, I think — 
but he had come to the Transvaal when the Lydenburg 
goldfields started. He was prospector, transport- 
rider, and hunter In turns, but principally hunter. In 
those early days he was none too good a citizen. He 
was in Swaziland with Bob Macnab, and you know 
what that means. Then he took to working off bogus 
gold propositions on Kimberley and Johannesburg 
magnates, and what he didn't know about salting a 
mine wasn't knowledge. After that he was in the 
Kalahari, where he and Scotty Smith were familiar 
names. An era of comparative respectability dawned 
for him with the Matabele War, when he did uncom- 
mon good scouting and transport work. Cecil Rhodes 
wanted to establish him on a stock farm down Salis- 
bury way, but Peter was an independent devil and 
would call no man master. He took to big-game hunt- 
ing, which was what God intended him for, for he 
could track a tsessebe in thick bush, and was far the 
finest shot I have seen in my life. He took parties to 
the Pungwe flats, and Barotseland, and up to Tan- 
ganyika. Then he made a specialty of the Ngami 
region, where I once hunted with him, and he was 
with me when I went prospecting in Damaraland. 

When the Boer War started, Peter, like many of the 
very great hunters, took the British side and did most 
of our intelligence work in the North Transvaal. 
Beyers would have hanged him if he could have caught 
him, and there was no love lost between Peter and his 



own people for many a day. When it was all over 
and things had calmed down a bit, he settled in Bula- 
wayo and used to go with me when I went on trek. 
At the time when I left Africa two years before, I had 
lost sight of him for months, and heard that he was 
somewhere on the Congo poaching elephants. He had 
always a great idea of making things hum so loud in 
Angola that the Union Government would have to 
step in and annex it. After Rhodes Peter had the 
biggest notions south of the Line. 

He was a man of about five foot ten, very thin and 
active, and as strong as a buffalo. He had pale blue 
eyes, a face as gentle as a girl's, and a soft sleepy voice. 
From his present appearance it looked as if he had 
been living hard lately. His clothes were of the cut 
you might expect to get at Lobito Bay, he was as lean 
as a rake, deeply browned with the sun, and there was 
a lot of grey in his beard. He was fifty-six years old, 
and used to be taken for forty. Now he looked about 
his age. 

I first asked him what he had been up to since the 
war began. He spat, in the Kaffir way he had, and 
said he had been having hell's time. 

"I got hung up on the Kafue," he said. "When I 
heard from old Letsitela that the white men were 
fighting I had a bright idea that I might get into 
German South West from the north. You see I knew 
that Botha couldn't long keep out of the war. Well, 
I got into German territory all light, and then a 
skeUum of an officer came along, and commandeered 
all my mules, and wanted to commandeer me with 
them for his fpol army. He was a very ugly man with 
a yellow face." Prter filled a deep pipe from a koo- 
doo*skin poucfa. 



"Were you commandeered?" I asked 

"No. I shot him — ^not so as to kill, but to wound 
badly. It was all right, for he fired first on me. Got 
me too ja the left shoulder. But that was the begin- 
ning of bad trouble. I trekked east pretty fast, and 
got over the border among the Ovamba. I have made 
many journeys, but that was the worst. Four days I 
went without water, and six without food. Then by 
bad luck I fell in with 'Nkitla — you remember, the 
half-caste chief • He said I owed him money for 
cattle which I bought when I came there with Caro- 
wab. It was a lie, but he held to it, and would ^ve 
me no transport. So I crossed the Kalahari on my 
feet. Ugh, it was as slow as a vrouw coming from 
nachtmaal. It took weeks and weeks, and when I came 
to Lechwe's kraal, I heard that the fighting was over 
and diat Botha had conquered the Gerhians. That, 
too, was a lie, but it deceived me, and I went north into 
Rhodesia, where I learned the truth. But by then I 
judged the war had gone too far for me to get any 
profit out of it, so I went into Angola to look for 
German refugees. By that time I was hating Ger- 
mans worse than hell." 

"But what did you propose to do with them?" I 

*^r had a notion they would make trouble with the 
Government in those parts. I don't specially love the 
Portugoose, but I'm for him against the Germans 
every day. Well, there was trouble, and I had a merry 
time for a month or two. But by and by it petered 
out, and I thought I had better dear for Europe, for 
South Africa was settling down just as the big show 
was getting really interesting. So here I am, Cornelis, 



my old friend If I shave my beard, will they let me 
join the Flying Corps?'* 

I looked at Peter sitting there smoking, as imper- 
turbable as if he had been growing mealies in Natal 
all his life and had run home for a month's holiday 
with his people in Peckham. 

"You're coming with me, my lad," I said. "We're 
going into Germany." 

Peter showed no surprise. "Keep in mind that I 
don't like the Germans," was all he said. "I'm a quiet 
Christian man, but I've the devil of a temper." 

Then I told him the story of our mission. 

"You and I have got to be Maritz's men. We got 
into Angola, and now we're trekking for the Father- 
land to get a bit of our own back from the infernal 
English. Neither of us knows a syllable of German — 
publicly. We'd better plan out the fighting we were 
in — Kakamas will do for one, and Schuit Drift. You 
were a Ngamiland hunter before the war. They won't 
have your dossier, so you can tell any lie you like. I'd 
better be an educated Afrikander, one of Beyers's 
bright lads, and a pal of old Hertzog. We can let our 
imagination loose about that part, but we must stick 
to the same yarn about the fighting." 

'7«, Cornelis," said Peter. (He had called me 
Cornelis ever since I had told him my new name. He 
was a wonderful chap for catching on to any game.) 
"But after we get into Germany, what then? There 
can't be much difficulty about the beginning. But 
once we're among the bcer-swillers I don't quite see 
our line. We're to find out about something that's 
going on in Turkey? When I was a boy the predikant 
used to preach about Turkey. I wish I was better 




educated and remembered whereabouts in the map tt 

"You leave that to me/' I said; "I'll explain it all to 
you before we get there. We haven't got much of a 
spoor, but we'll cast about, and with luck will pick it 
up. I've seen you do it often enough when we hunted 
koodoo on the Kafue." 

Peter nodded. "Do we sit still in a German town?" 
he asked anxiously. "I shouldn't like that, Cornelis." 

"We move gently eastward to Constantinople," I 

Peter grinned. "We should cover a lot of new 
country. You can reckon on me, friend Cornelis. I've 
always had a hankering to see Europe." 

He rose to his feet and stretched his long arms. 

"We'd better begin at once. God, I wonder what's 
happened to old Solly Maritz, with his bottle face? 
Yon was a fine battle at the drift when I was sitting 
up to my neck in the Orange praying that Brits' lads 
would take my head for a stone." 

Peter was as thorough a mountebank, when he got 
started, as Blenkiron himself. All the way back to 
Lisbon he yarned about Maritz and his adventures 
in German South West till I half believed they were 
true. He made a very good story of our doings, and 
by his constant harping on it I pretty soon got it into 
my memory. That was always Peter's way. He said 
if you were going to play* a part, you must think your- 
self into it, convince yourself that you were it, till you 
really were it and didn't act but behaved naturally. The 
two men who had started that morning from the hotel 
door had been bogus enough, but the two that re- 
turned were genuine desperadoes, itching to get a 
shot at England. 



We spent that evening piling up evidence in our 
favour. Some kind of republic had been started in 
Portugal, and ordinarily the cafes would have been 
full of politicians, but the war had quieted all these 
local squabbles, and the talk was of nothing but what 
was doing in France and Russia. The place we went 
to was a big, well-lighted show on a main street, and 
there were a lot of sharp-eyed fellows wandering about 
that I guessed were spies and police agents. I knew 
that Britain was the one country that doesn't bother 
about this kind of game, and tliat it would be safe 
enough to let ourselves go. 

I talked Portuguese fairly well, and Peter spoke it 
like a Loureng Marques bar-keeper, with a lot of 
Shangaan words to fill up. He started on coragoa, 
which I reckoned was a new drink to him, and pres- 
ently his tongue ran freely. Several neighbours 
pridced up their ears, and soon we had a small crowd 
round our table. 

We talked to each other of Maritz and our doings. 
It didn't seem to be a popular subject in that cafe. 
One big blue-black fellow said that Maritz was a dirty 
swine who would soon be hanged. Peter quickly caught 
his knife-wrist with one hand and his throat with the 
other, and demanded an apology. He got it. The 
Lisbon boulevardiers have not lost any lions. 

After that there was a bit of a squash in our corner. 
Those near us were very quiet and polite, but the outer 
fringe made remarks. When Peter said that if Portu- 
gal, which he admitted he loved, was going to stick 
to England she was backing the wrong horse, there was 
a murmur of disapproval. One decent-looking old fel- 
low, who had the air of a ship's captain, flushed all 
over his honest face, and stood up looking straight at 



Peter. I saw that we had struck an Englishman, and 
mentioned it to Peter in Dutch. 

Peter played his part perfectly. He suddenly shut 
up, and, with furtive looks around him, began to jabber 
to me in a low voice. He was the very picture of the 
stage conspirator. 

The old fellow stood staring at us. "I don't very 
well understand this damned lingo," he said; ''but if 
so be you dirty Dutchmen are sayin* anything against 
England, FU ask you to repeat it. And if so be as you 
repeats it TU take dther of you on and knock the face 
off him." 

He was a chap after my own heart, but I had to 
keep the game up. I said in Dutch to Peter that we 
mustn't get brawling in a public house. "Remember 
the big thing," I said darkly. Peter nodded, and the 
old fellow, after staring at us for a bit, spat scorn- 
fully, and walked out. 

"The time is coming when the Englander will sing 
small," I observed to the crowd. We stood drinks to 
one or two, and then swaggered into the street. At 
the door a hand touched my arm, and looking down, 
I saw a little scrap of a man in a fur coat. 

"Will the gentlemen walk a step with me and drink 
a glass of beer?'* he said in very stiff Dutch. 

"Who the devil are you?" I asked. 

^^Gott strafe EnglandP* was his answer, and, turn- 
ing back the lapel of his coat, he showed some kind 
of ribbon in his bottonhole. 

"Amen," said Peter. "Lead on, friend. We don't 
mind if we do." 

He led us to a back street and then up two pairs 
of stairs to a very snug little flat. The place was full 
of fine red lacquer, and I guessed that art-dealing was 



his nominal business. Portugal, since the republic 
broke up the convents and sold up the big royalist 
grandees, was full of bargains in the lacquer and curio 

He filled us two long tankards of very good Munich 

''Prosit^' he said, raising his glass. "You are from 
South Africa. What make you in Europe?" 

We both looked sullen and secretive. 

"That's our own business," I answered. "You don't 
expect to buy our confidence with a glass of beer." 

"So?" he said. ^ "Then I will put it differently. 
From your speech in the cafe I judge you do not love 
the English." 

Peter said something about stamping on their grand- 
mothers, a Kaffir phrase which sounded gruesome in 

The man laughed. "That is all I want to know. 
You are on the German side?" 

"That remains to be seen," I said. "If they treat 
me fair I'll fight for them, or for anybody else that 
makes war on England. England has stolen my coun- 
try and corrupted my people and made me an exile. 
We Afrikanders do not forget. We may be slow but 
we win in the end. We two are men worth a great 
price. Germany fights England in East Africa. We 
know the natives as no Englishmen can ever know 
them. They are too soft and easy and the Kaffirs 
laugh at them. But we can handle the blacks so that 
they will fight like devils for fear of us. What is the 
reward, little man, for our services? I will tell you. 
There will be no reward. We ask none. We fight for 
hate of England." 

Peter grunted a deep approval. 



'^That is good talk," said our entertainer, and his 
close-set eyes flashed. "There is room in Germany 
for such men as you. Where are you going now, I 
beg to know." 

"To Holland," I said. "Then maybe we will go 
to Germany. We are tired with travel and may rest 
a bit. This war will last long and our chance will 

"But you may miss your market," he said signifi- 
cantly. "A ship sails to-morrow for Rotterdam. If 
you take my advice, you will go with her." 

This was what I wanted, for if we stayed in Lisbon 
some real soldier of Maritz might drop in any day 
and blow the gaff. 

"I recommend you to sail in the Machadoy^^ he re- 
peated. "There is work for you in Germany — oh, 
yes, much work; but if you delay the chance may pass. 
I will arrange your journey. It is my business to help 
the allies of my fatherland." 

He wrote down our names and an epitome of our 
doings contributed by Peter, who required two mugs 
of beer tb help him through. He was a Bavarian, 
it seemed, and we drank to the health of Prince Rup- 
precht, the same blighter I was trying to do in at Loos. 
That was an irony which Peter unfortunately could 
not appreciate. If he could he would have enjoyed it. 

The little chap saw us back to our hotel, and was 
with us next morning after breakfast, bringing the 
steamer tickets. We got on board about two in the 
afternoon, but on my advice he did not see us off. I 
told him that, being British subjects, and rebels at 
that, we did not want to run any risks on board, assum- 
ing a British cruiser caught us up and searched us. 
But Peter took twenty pounds off him for travelling 



expenses, it being his rule never to miss ah opportunity 
of spoiling the Egyptians. 

As we were dropping down the Tagus we passed 
the old Henry the Navigator. 

"I met Sloggett in the street this morning," said 
Peter, "and he told me a little German man had been 
oif in a boat at daybreak looking up the passenger list. 
Yon was a right notion of yours, Cornelis. I am glad 
we are going among Germans. They are careful peo- 
ple whom it is a pleasure to meet." 




THE Germans, as Peter said, are a careful peo- 
ple, A man met us on the quay at Rotterdam. 
I was a bit afraid that something might have turned up 
in Lisbon to discredit us, and that our little friend 
might have warned his pals by telegram. But appar- 
ently all was serene. 

Peter and I had made our plans pretty carefully 
on the voyage. We had talked nothing but Dutch, and 
had kept up between ourselves the role of Maritz's 
men, which Peter said was the only way to play a part 
well. Upon my soul, before we got to Holland I was 
not very clear in my own mind what my past had been. 
Indeed the danger was that the other side of my mind, 
which should be busy with the great problem, would get 
atrophied, and that I should soon be mentally on a par 
with the ordinary backveld desperado. We had agreed 
that it would be best to get into Germany at once, and 
when the agent on the quay told us of a train at mid- 
day we decided to take it. ^ 

I had another fit of cold feet before we got over 
the frontier. At the station there was a King's mes- 
senger whom I had seen in France, and a war corre- 
spondent who had been trotting round our part of the 
front before Loos. I heard a woman speaking pretty 
clean-cut English, which amid the hoarse Dutch jabber 



sounded like a lark among crows. There were copies 
of the English papers for sale, and English cheap edi- 
tions. I felt pretty bad about the whole business, and 
wondered if I should ever see these homely sights 

But the mood passed when the train started. It was 
a clear blowing day, and as we crawled through the 
flat pastures of Holland my time was taken up an- 
swering Peter's questions. He had never been in 
Europe before, and formed a high opinion of the 
farming. He said he reckoned that such land would 
carry four sheep a morgen. We were thick in talk 
when we reached the frontier station and jolted over 
a canal bridge into Germany. ^ 

I had expected a big barricade with barbed wire 
and entrenchments. But there was nothing to see on 
the German side but half a dozen sentries in the field- 
grey I had hunted at Loos. , An under-ofEcer with 
the black-and-gold button of the Landsturm, hoicked 
us out of the train, and we were all shepherded in a 
big bare waiting-room, where a large stove burned. 
They took us two at a time into an inner room for 
examination. I had explained to Peter all about this 
formality, but I was glad we went in together, for 
they made us strip to the skin, and I had to curse him 
pretty seriously to make him keep quiet. The men 
who did the job were fairly civil, but they were mighty 
thorough. They took down a list of all we had in our 
pockets and bags, and all the details from the pass- 
ports the Rotterdam agent had given us. 

We were dressing when a man in a lieutenant's uni- 
form came in with a paper in his hand. He was a 
fresh-faced lad of about twenty, with short-sighted 
spectacled eyes. 




"Herr Brandt," he called out. 

I nodded. 

"And this is Herr Pienaar?'* he asked in Dutch. 

He saluted. "Gentlemen, I apologise. I am late 
because of the slowness of the Herr Commandant's 
motor-car. Had I been in time you would not have 
been required to go through this ceremony. We have 
been advised of your coming, and I am instructed to 
attend you on your journey. The train for Berlin 
leaves in half an hour. Pray do me the honour to 
join me in a bock." 

With a feeling of distinction we stalked out of the 
ordinary ruck of passengers and followed the lieu- 
tenant to the station restaurant. He plunged at once 
into conversation, talking the Dutch of Holland, which 
Peter, who had forgotten his schooldays, found a bit 
hard to follow. He was unfit for active service, be- 
cause of his eyes and a weak heart, but he was a des- 
perate fire-eater in that stuffy restaurant. By his way 
of it Germany could gobble up the French and the 
Russians whenever she cared, but she was aiming at 
getting all the Middle East in her hands first, so that 
she could come out conqueror with the practical con- 
trol of half the world. "Your friends the English," 
he said grinning, "will come last. When we have 
starved them and destroyed their commerce with our 
under-sea boats we will show them what our navy can 
do. For a year they have been wasting their time in 
brag and politics, and we have been buildmg great 

ships— oh, so many I My cousin at Kiel '* and he 

looked over his shoulder. 

But we never heard about that cousin at Kiel. A 
short, sunburnt man came in and our friend sprang 
up and saluted, clicking his heels like a pair of tongs. 



"These are the South African Dutch, Herr Cap- 
tain/' he said. 

'The new-comer looked us over with bright intelli- 
gent eyes, and started questioning Peter in the taaL 
It was well that we had taken some pains with our 
story, for this man had been years in German South 
West, and knew every mile of the borders. Zorn was 
his name, and both Peter and I thought we remembered 
hearing him spoken of. 

I am thankful to say that we both showed up pretty 
well. Peter told his story to perfection, not pitching 
it too high, and asking me now and then for a name 
or to verify some detail. Captain Zorn looked sat- 
isfied. ^ 

"You seem the right kind of fellows," he said. 
"But remember" — and he bent his brows on us— 
"we do not understand slimness in this land. If you 
are honest you will be rewarded, but if you dare to 
play a double game you *will be shot Ijke dogs. Your 
race has produced over many traitors for my taste." 

"I ask no reward," I said grufily. "We are not 
Germans or Germany's slaves. But so long as she 
fights against England we will fight for her." 

"Bold words," he said; "but you must bow your 
stiff necks to discipline first. Discipline has been the 
weak point of you Boers, and you have suffered for it. 
You are no more a nation. In Germany we put disci- 
pline first and last, and therefore we will conquer the 
world. Off with you now. Your train starts in three 
minutes. We will sec what von Stumm will make of 

That fellow gave me the best "feel" of any Ger- 
man I had yet met. He was a white man and I could 



have worked with him. I liked his stiff chin and steady 
blue eyes. 

My chief recollection of our journey to Berlin was 
Its commonplaceness. The spectacled lieutenant fell 
asleep, and for the most part we had the carriage to 
ourselves. Now and again a soldier on leave would 
drop in, most of them tired men with heavy eyes. No 
wonder, poor devils, for they were coming back from 
the Yser or the Ypres salient. I would have liked to 
talk to them, but officially of course I knew no Ger- 
man, and the conversation I overheard did not signify 
much. It was mostly about regimental details, though 
one chap, who was in better spirits than the rest, ob- 
served ^at this was the last Christmas of misery, and 
that next year he would be holidaying at home with full 
pockets. The others assented, but without much con- 

The winter day was short, and most of the journey 
was made in the dark. I could see from the window 
the lights of little villages, and now and then the blaze 
of ironworks and forges. We stopped at a town for 
dinner, where the platform was crowded with drafts 
waiting to go westwards. We saw no signs of any 
scarcity of food, such as the English newspapers wrote 
about. We had an excellent dinner at the station 
restaurant, which, with a bottle of white wine, cost 
just three shillings apiece. The bread, to be sure, 
was poor, but I can put up with the absence of bread 
if I get a .juicy fillet of beef and as good vegetables 
as you will see in the Savoy. 

I was a little afraid of our giving ourselves away in 
our sleep, but I need have had no fear, for our escort 
slumbered like a hog with his mouth wide open. As 
we roared through the darkness I kept pindiing my- 



self to make me feel that I was in the enemy's land 
on a wild mission. The rain came on, and we passed 
through dripping towns, with the lights shining from 
the wet streets. As we went eastward the lighting 
seemed to grow more generous. After the murk of 
London it was queer to slip through garish stations 
with a hundred arc lights glowing, and to see long 
lines of lamps running to the horizon. Peter dropped 
off early, but I kept awake till midnight, trying to focus 
thoughts that persistently strayed. Then I too dozed, 
and did not awake till about five in the morning, when 
we ran into a great busy terminus as bright as midday. 
It was the easiest and most unsuspicious journey I ever 

The lieutenant stretched himself and smoothed his 
rumpled uniform. We carried our scanty luggage to 
a droschke, for there seemed to be no porters. Our 
escort gave the address of some hotel and we rum- 
bled out into brightly lit empty streets. 

"A mighty dorp," said Peter. "Of a truth the 
Germans are a great people." 

The lieutenant nodded good-humouredly. 

"The greatest people on earth," he said, "as their 
enemies will soon bear witness." 

I would have given a lot for a bath, but I felt that 
it would be outside my part, and Peter was not of the 
washing persuasion. But we had a very good break- 
fast of coffee and eggs, and then the lieutenant started 
on the telephone. He began by being dictatorial, then 
he seemed to be switched on to higher authorities, for 
he grew more polite, and at the end he fairly crawled. 
He made some arrangements, for he informed us that 
in the afternoon we would see some fellow whose title 
he could not translate into Dutch. I judged he waa 



a great swell, for his voice became reverential at the 
mention of him. 

He took us for a walk that morning after Peter and 
I had attended to our toilets. We were an odd pair 
of scallywags to look at, but as South African as a 
wait-a-bit bush. Both of us had ready-made tweed 
suits, grey flannel shirts with flannel collars, and felt 
hats with broader brims than .they like in Europe. 
I had strong nailed brown boots, Peter a pair of those 
mustard-coloured abominations which the Portuguese 
affect and which made him hobble like a Chinese lady. 
He had a scarlet satin tie which you could hear a mile 
off. My beard had grown to quite a respectable lengthy 
and I trimmed it like General Smuts'. Peter's was 
the kind of loose flapping thing the taakhaar loves, 
which has scarcely ever been shaved, and is combed 
once in a blue moon. I must say we made a pretty 
solid pair. Any South African would have set us down 
as a Boer from the back-veld who had bought a suit 
of clothes in the nearest store, and his cousin from 
some one-horse dorp who had been to school and 
thought himself the devil of a fellow. We fairly 
reeked of the sub-continent, as the papers call it. 

It was a fine morning after the rain, and we wan- 
dered about in the streets for a couple of hours. They 
were busy enough, and the shops looked rich and 
bright with their Christmas goods, and one big store 
where I went to buy a pocket-knife was packed with 
customers. One didn't see very many young men, 
and most of the women wore mourning. Uniforms 
were everywhere, but their wearers generally looked 
like dug-outs or office fellows. We had a look at the 
squat building which housed the General Staff and took 
off our hats to it. Then we stared at the Marinamt, and 




I wondered what plots were hatching there behind old 
Tirpitz's whiskers. The capital gave one an impres- 
sion of ugly cleanness and a sort of dreary effective- 
ness. And yet I found it depressing — ^more depressing 
than London. I don't know how to put it, but the 
whole big concern seemed to have no soul in it, to be 
like a big factory instead of a city. You won't make a 
factory look like a house, though you decorate its front 
and plant rose-bushes all round it. The place depressed 
and yet cheered me. It somehow made the German 
people seem smaller. 

At three o'clock the lieutenant took us to a plain 
white building in a side street with sentries at the door. 
A young Staff officer met us and made us wait for 
five minutes in an ante-room. Then we were ushered 
into a big room with a polished floor on which Peter 
nearly sat down. There was a log fire burning, and 
seated at a table was a little man in spectacles with his 
hair brushed back from his brow like a popular violin- 
ist. He was the boss, for the lieutenant saluted him 
and announced our names. Then he disappeared, and 
the man at the table motioned us to sit down in two 
chairs, before him. 

"Herr Brandt and Herr Pienaar?" he asked, look- 
ing over his glasses. 

But it was the other man that caught my eye. He 
stood with his back to the fire leaning his elbows on 
the mantelpiece. He was a perfect mountain of a 
fellow, six and a half feet if he was an inch, with 
shoulders on him like a shorthorn bull. He was in 
uniform, and the black-and-white ribbon of the Iron 
Cross showed at a buttonhole. His tunic was all 
wrinkled and strained as if it could scarcely contain 
his huge chest, and mighty hands were clasped over 



his stomach. That man must have had the length of 
reach of a gorilla. He had a great, lazy, smiling face, 
with a square cleft chin which stuck out beyond the 
rest. His brow* retreated and the stubbly back of 
his head ran forward to meet it, while his neck below 
bulged out over his collar. His head was exactly the 
shape of a pear with the sharp end topmost. 

He stared at me with his small bright eyes and I 
stared back. I had struck something I had been look* 
ing for for a long time, and till that moment I wasn't 
sure that it existed. Here was the German of carica- 
ture, the real German, the fellow we were up against. 
He was as hideous as a hippopotamus, but effective. 
Every bristle on his odd head was effective. 

The man at the ,table was speaking. I took him 
to be a civilian official of sorts, pretty high up, from 
his surroundings, perhaps an Under-Secretary. His 
Dutch was slow and careful, but good — too good for 
Peter. He had a paper before him and was asking 
us questions from it. They did not amount to much, 
being pretty well a repetition of those Zom had asked 
us at the frontier. I answered fluently, for I had all 
our lies by heart. 

Then the man on the hearthrug broke in. "PU 
talk to them. Excellency," he said in German. "You 
are too academic for these outland swine." 

He began in the taal, with the thick guttural accent 
that you get in German South West. "You have heard 
of me," he said. "I am the Colonel von Stumm who 
fought the Heraros." 

Peter pricked up his ears, "/a, Baas, you cut off 
the chief Baviaan's head and sent it in pickle about 
the country. I have seen it." 

The big man laughed. "You see I am not forgot- 



ten,'* he said to his friend, and then to us: "So I 
treat my enemies, and so will Germany treat hers. 
You, too, if you fail me by a fraction of ^n inch." 
And he laughed loud again. ' 

There was something horrible in that boisterousness. 
Peter was watching him from below his eyelids, as I 
have seen him watch a lion about to charge. 

He flung himself on a chair, put his elbows on the 
table, and thrust his face forward. 

"You have come from a damned muddled show. If 
I had Maritz in my power I would have him*flogged 
at a wagon's end. Fools and pig-dogs, they had the 
game in their hands and they flung it away. We could 
have raised a fire that would have burned the English 
into the sea, and for lack of fuel they let it die down. 
Then they try to fan it when the ashes are cold." He 
rolled a paper pellet and flicked it into the air. "That 
Is what I think of your idiot general," he said, "and 
of all you Dutch. As slow as a fat vrouw and as 
greedy as an aasvogel." 

We looked very glum and sullen. 

"A pair of dumb dogs," he cried. "A thousand 
Brandenburgers would have won in a fortnight. Seitz 
hadn't much to boast of, mostly clerks and farmers 
and half<astes, and no soldier worth the name to lead 
them, but it took Botha and Smuts and a dozen gen- 
erals to hunt him down. But Maritz 1" His scorn 
came like a gust of wind. 

"Maritz did all the fighting there was," said Peter 
sulkily. "At any rate he wasn't afraid of the sight 
of khaki like your lot." 

"Maybe he wasn't," said the giant in a cooing voice; 
"maybe he had his reasons for that. You Dutchmen 
have always a feather-bed to fall on. You can al- 



ways turn traitor. Maritz now calls himself Robinson, 
and has a pension from his friend Botha.'* 

"That," said Peter, "is a very damned lie." 

"I asked for information," said Stumm with a sud- 
den politeness. "But that is all past and done with. 
Maritz matters no more than your old Cronjes and 
Krugers. The show is over, and you are loolung for 
safety. For a new master perhaps? But, man, what 
can you bring? What can you offer? You and your 
Dutch are lying in the dust with the yoke on your 
necks. ^The Pretoria lawyers have talked you round. 
You see that map," and he pointed to a big one on the 
wall. "South Africa is coloured green. Not red 
for the English, or yellow for the Germans. Some 
day it will be yellow, but for a little it will be green 
— ^the colour of neutrals, of nothings, of boys and 
young ladies and chicken-hearts." 

I kept wondering what he was playing at. 

Then he fixed his eyes on Peter. "What do you 
come here for? The game's up in your own country. 
What can you offer us Germans? If we gave you 
ten million marks and sent you back you could do 
nothing. Stir up a village row, perhaps, and shoot a 
policeman. South Africa is counted out in this war. 
Botha is a cleverish man and has beaten you calves'- 
heads of rebels. Can you deny it?" 

Peter couldn't. He was terribly honest in some 
things, and these were for certain his opinions. 

"No," he said, "that is true. Baas." • 

"Then what in God's name can you do?" shouted 

Peter mumbled some foolishness about nobbling 
Angola for Germany and starting a revolution among 



the natives. Stumm flung up his arms and cursed, and 
the Under-Secretary laughed. 

It was high time for me to chip in. I was beginning 
to see the kind of fellow this Stumm was, and as he 
talked I thought of my mission, which had got overlaid 
by my Boer past. It looked as if he might be useful. 

"Let me speak," I said. "My friend is a great 
hunter, but he fights better than he talks. He is no 
politician. You speak truth. South Africa is a closed 
door for the present, and the key to it is elsewhere. 
Here in Europe, and in the East, and in other parts 
of Africa. We have come to help you to find the 

Stumm was listening. "Go on, my little Boer. It 
will be a new thing to hear a taakhaar on world- 

"You are fighting," I said, "ifl East Africa; and 
soon you may fight in Egypt. All the east coast north 
of the Zambesi will be your battle-ground. The Eng- 
lish run about the world with little expeditions. I do 
not know where the places, are, though I read of them 
in the papers. But I know my Africa. You want to 
beat them here in Europe and on the seas. Therefore, 
like wise generals, you try to divide them and have 
them scattered throughout the globe while you stick 
at home. That is your plan?" 

"A second Falkenhayn," said Stumm, laughing. 

"Well, England will not let East Africa go. She 
fears for Egypt and she fears too for India. If you 
press her there she will send armies and more armies 
till she is so weak in Europe that a child can crush 
her. That is England's way. She cares more for her 
Empire than for what may happen to her allies. So 
I say press and still press there, destroy the railway 



to the Lakes, bum her capital, pen up every English- 
man in Mombasa island. At this moment it is worth 
for you a thousand Damaralands." 

The man was really interested and the Under- 
Secretary too pricked up his ears. 

"We can keep our territory," said the former; "but 
as for pressing, how the devil are we to press? The 
accursed English hold the sea. We cannot ship men 
or guns there. South are the Portuguese and west 
the Belgians. You cannot move a mass without a 

"The lever is there, ready for you," I said. 

"Then for God's sake show it me," he cried. 

I looked at the door to see that it was shut, as if 
what I had to say was very secret. 

"You need men, and the men are waiting. They 
are black, but they are the stuff of warriors. All 
round your borders you have the remains of great 
fighting tribes, the Angoni, the Masai, the Manyum- 
wezi, and above all the Somalis of the north, and the 
dwellers on the Upper Nile. The British recruit their 
black regiments there, and so do you. But to get re- 
cruits is not enough. You must set whole nations 
moving, as the Zulu under Tchaka flowed over South 

"It cannot be done," said the Under-Secretary. 

"It can be done," I said quietly. "We two are here 
to do it." 

This kind of talk was jolly difficult for me, chiefly 
because of Stumm's asides in German to the official. 
I had above all things to get the credit of knowing 
no German, and, if you understand a language well, it 
is not very easy when you are interrupted not to show 
that you know it, either by a direct answer, or by re- 



ferring to the interruption In what you say next. I 
had to be always on my guard, and yet it was up to 
me to be very persuasive and convince these fellows 
that I would be useful. Somehow or other I had to get 
into their confidence. 

"I have been for years up and down in Africa- 
Uganda and the Congo and the Upper Nile. I know 
the ways of the Kaffir as no Englishman does. We 
Afrikanders see into the black man's heart, and though 
he may hate us he does our will. You Germans are 
like the English; you are too big folk to understand 
plain men. *Civilise,* ,you cry. 'Educate,' say the 
English. The black man obeys and puts away his 
gods, but he worships them all the time in his souL 
We must get his gods on our side, and then he will 
move mountains. We must do as John Laputa did with 
Sheba's necklace." 

"That's all in the air," said Stumm, but he did not 

"It is sober common sense," I said. "But you must 
begin at the right end. First find the race that fears 
its priests. It is waiting for you — ^the Mussulmans of 
Somaliland and the Abyssinian border and the Blue 
and White Nile. They would be like dried grasses 
to catch fire if you used the flint and steel of their reli« 
gion. Look what the English suffered from a crazy 
Mullah who ruled only a dozen villages. Once get 
the flames going and they will lick up the pagans of 
the west and south. That is the way of Africa. How 
many thousands, think you, were in the Mahdi's army 
who never heard of the Prophet till they saw the black 
flags of the Emirs going into battle?" 

Stumm was smiling. He turned his face to the of- 
ficial and spoke with his hand over his mouth, but I 



caught his words. They were : "This is the man for 
Hilda." The other pursed his lips and looked a little 

Stunun rang a bell and the lieutenant came in and 
clicked his heels. He nodded towards Peter. "Take 
this man away with you. We have done with him. 
The other fellow will follow presently." 

Peter went out with a puzzled face and Stumni 
turned to me. 

"You are a dreamer, Brandt," he said. "But I do 
not reject you on that account. Dreams sometimes 
come true, when an army follows the visionary. But 
who is going to kindle the flame?" 

"You," I said. 

"What the devil do you mean?" he asked. 

"That is your part. You are the cleverest people 
in the world. You have already half the Mussulman 
lands in your power. It is for you to show us how 
to kindle a holy war, for clearly you have the secret 
of it. Never fear, but we will carry out your order." 

"We have no secret," he said shortly, and glanced 
at the official, who stared out of the window. 

I dropped my jaw and looked the picture of dis- 
appointment. "I do not believe yQu," I said slowly. 
"You play a game with me. I have not come six thou- 
sand miles to be made a fool of." 

"Disdpline, by God," Stumm cried. "This is none 
of your ragged commandos." In two strides he was 
above me and had lifted me out of my seat. His great 
hands clutched my shoulder, and his thumbs gouged 
ray armpits. I felt as if I were in the grip of a big 
ape. Then very slowly he shook me so that my teeth 
seemed loosened and my head swam. He let me go 
and I dropped limply back in the chair. 



"Now, go! Futsackl And remember that I am 
your master. I, Ulric von Stumm, who owns you as 
a Kaffir owns his mongrel. Germany may have some 
use for you, my friend, when you fear me as you 
never feared your Gpd." 

As I walked dizzily away the big man was smiling 
in his horrible way, and that little official was blinking 
and smiling too. I had struck a dashed queer coun- 
try, so queer that I had had no time to remember that 
for the first time in my Jife I had been bullied without 
hitting back. When I realised it I nearly choked with 
anger. But I thanked Heaven I had shown no temper, 
for I remembered my mission. Luck seemed to have 
brought me into useful company. 









NEXT morning there was a touch of frost and a 
nip in the air which stirred my blood and put me 
in buoyant spirits. I forgot my precarious position and 
the long road I had still to travel. I came down to 
breakfast in great form, to find Peter's even temper 
badly ruffled. He had remembered Stumm in the night 
and disliked the memory; this he muttered to me as we 
rubbed shoulders at the dining-room door. Peter and 
I got no opportunity for private talk. The lieutenant 
was with us all the time, and at night we were locked in 
our rooms. Peter discovered this through trying to 
get out to find matches, for he had the bad habit of 
smoking in bed. 

Our guide started on the telephone, and announced 
that we were to be taken to see a prisoners' camp. 
In the afternoon I was to go somewhere with Stumm, 
but the morning was for sightseeing. "You will see," 
he told us, "how merciful is a great people. You will 
also see some of the hated English in our power. That 
will delight you. They are the forerunners of all their 

We drove in a taxi through the suburbs and then 
over a stretch of flat market-garden-like country to a 
low rise of wooded hills. After an hour's ride we en- 
tered the gate of what looked like a big reformatory 



or hospital, I believe It had been a home for desti- 
tute children. There were sentries at the gate and 
massive concentric circles of barbed wire through whidi 
we passed under an arch which was let down like a 
portcullis at nightfall. The lieutenant showed his per- 
mit, and we ran the car into a brick-paved yard and 
marched through a lot more sentries to the office of 
the commandant. 

He was away from home, and we were welcomed 
by his deputy, a pale young man with a head nearly 
bald. There were introductions in German which our 
guide translated into Dutch, and a lot of elegant 
speeches about how Germany was foremost in hu- 
manity as well as martial valour. Then they stood us 
sandwiches and beer, and we formed a procession for 
a tour of inspection. There were two doctors, both 
mild-looking men in spectacles, and a couple of ward- 
ers — ^under-officers of the good old burly, bullying sort 
I knew well. That is the cement which has kept the 
German Army together. Her men were nothing to 
boast of on the average; no more ^ere the officers, 
even in crack corps like the Guards and the Branden- 
burgers ; but they seemed to have an inexhaustible sup- 
ply of hard, competent N.C.O.*s. 

We marched round the wash-houses, the recreation- 
ground, the kitchens, the hospital — ^with nobody in it 
save one chap with the "flu." It didn't seem to be 
badly done. This place was entirely for officers, and 
I expect it was the show place where American visitors 
were taken. If half the stories one heard were true 
there were some pretty ghastly prisons away in South 
and East Germany. 

I didn't half like the business. To be a prisoner 
has always seemed to me about the worst thing that 




could happen to a man. The sight of German pris- 
oners used to give me a bad feeling inside, whereas I 
looked at dead Boches with nothing but satisfaction. 
Besides, there was the off-chance that I might be rec- 
ognised. So I kept very much in the shadow whenever 
we passed anybody in the corridors. 

The few we met passed us incuriously. They saluted 
the deputy-commandant, but scarcely wasted a glance 
on us. No doubt they thought we were inquisitive 
Germans come to gloat over them. They looked fairly 
fit, a little puffy about the eyes, like men who get too 
little exercise. They seemed thin, too. I expect the 
food, for all the commandant's talk, was nothing to 
boast of. In one room people were writing letters. It 
was d big place with only a tiny stove to warm it, 
and the windows were shut so that the atmosphere 
was a cold frowst. In another room a fellow was lec- 
turing on something to a dozen hearers and drawing 
figures on a blackboard. Some were in ordinary khaki, 
others in any old thing they could pick up, and most 
wore greatcoats. Your blood gets thin when you have 
nothing to do but hope against hope and think of your 
pals and the old days. 

I was moving along, listening with half an ear to 
the lieutenant's prattle and the loud explanations of 
the deputy commandant, when I pitchforked into what 
might have been the end of my business. We were 
going through a sort of convalescent room, where 
people were sitting who had been in hospital. It was 
a big place, a little warmer than the rest of the build- 
ing, but still abominably fuggy. There were about 
half a dozen men in the room, reading and playing 
games. They looked at us with lack-lustre eyes for a 
moment, and then returned to their occupations. Be- 



ing convalescents I suppose they were not expected to 
get up and salute. 

All but one, who was playing Patience at a little 
table by which we passed. I was feeling very bad 
about the thing, for I hated to see these good fellows 
locked away in this infernal German hole when they 
might have been giving the Boche his deserts at the 
front. The commandant went first with Peter, who 
had developed a great interest in prisons. Then came 
our lieutenant with one of the doctors; then a couple 
of warders ; and then the second doctor and myself. I 
was absent-minded at the moment and was last in the 

The Patience-player suddenly looked up and I saw 
his face; I'm hanged if it wasn't Dolly Riddell, who 
was our brigade machine-gun officer at Loos. I had 
heard that the Germans had got him when they blew 
up a mine at the Quarries. 

I had to act pretty quick, for his mouth was agape, 
and I saw he was going to speak. The doctor was a 
yard ahead of me. 

I stumbled and spilt his cards on the floor. Then 
I kneeled to pick them up and gripped his knee. His 
head bent to help me and I spoke low in his ear. "I'm 
Hannay all right. For God's sake don't wink an eye ; 
I'm here on a secret job.'* | 

The doctor had turned to see what was the matter. 
I got a few more words in. "Cheer up, old man. 
We're winning hands down." 

Then I began to talk excited Dutch and finished 
the collection of the cards. Dolly was playing his part 
well, smiling as if he were amused by the antics of a 
monkey. The others were coming back, the deputy- 
commandant with an angry light in his dull eye. 



"Speaking to the prisoners is forbidden," he shouted. 

I looked blankly at him till the lieutenant translated. 

"What kind of fellow is he?" said Dolly in Eng- 
lish to the doctor. "He spoils my game and then 
jabbers High-Dutch at me." 

Officially I knew English, and that speech of Dolly's 
gave me my cue. I pretended to be very angry with 
the very damned Englishman, and went out of the 
room close by the deputy-commandant, grumbling like 
a sick jackal. After that I had to act a bit. The last 
place we visited was the close-confinement part where 
prisoners were kept as a punishment for some breach 
of the rules. They looked cheerless enough, but I 
pretended to gloat over the sight, and said so to the 
lieutenant, who passed it on to the others. I have 
rarely in my life felt such a cad. 

On the way home the lieutenant discoursed a lot 
about prisoners and detention-camps, for at one time he 
had been on duty at Ruhleben. Peter, who had been 
in quod more than once in his life, was deeply inter- 
ested and kept on questioning him. Among other 
things he told us was that they often put bogus prison- 
ers among the rest, who acted as spies. If any plot to 
escape was hatched these fellows got into it and en- 
couraged it. They never interfered till the attempt 
iwas actually made and then they had them on toast. 
There was nothing the Boche liked so much as an ex- 
cuse for sending a poor devil to "solitary." 

That afternoon Peter and I separated. He was left 
behind with the lieutenant and I was sent off to the 
station with my bag in the company of a Landsturm 
sergeant. Peter was very cross, and I didn't care for 
the look of things ; but I brightened up when I heard I 
was going somewhere with Stumm. If he wanted to 



see me again he must think me of some use, and if 
he was going to use me he was bound to let me into 
his game. I liked Stumm about as much as a dog 
likes a scorpion, but I hankered for his society. 

At the station platform, where the ornament of 
the Landsturm saved me all trouble about tickets, 
I could not see my companion. I stood waiting, while 
a great crowd, mostly of soldiers, swayed past me and 
filled all the front carriages. An officer spoke to me 
gruffly and told me to stand aside behind a wooden 
rail. I ' obeyed, and suddenly found Stumm's eyes 
looking down at me. 

"You know German?" he asked sharply. 

"A dozen words," I said carelessly. "I've been to 
Windhuk and learned enough to ask for my dinner. 
Peter — ^my friend — speaks it a bit." 

"So," said Stumm. "Well, get into the carriage. 
Not that one! There, thickhead 1" 

I did as I was bid, he followed, and the door was 
locked behind us. The precaution was needless, for 
the sight of Stumm*s profile at the platform end would 
have kept out the most brazen. I wondered if I had 
woke up his suspicions. I must be on my guard 
to show no signs of intelligence if he suddenly tried me 
in German, and that wouldn't be easy, for I knew it as 
well as I knew Dutch. 

We moved into the country, but the windows were 
blurred with frost, and I saw nothing of the land* 
scape. Stumm was busy with papers and let me alone. 
I read on a notice that one was forbidden to smoke, 
so to show my ignorance of German I pulled out my 
pipe. Stumm raised his head, saw what I was doing, 
and gruffly bade me put it away, as if he were an old 
lady that disliked the smell of tobacco. 



In half an hour I got very bored, for I had nothing 
to read and my pipe was verboten. People passed now 
and then in the corridors, but no one offered to enter. 
No doubt they saw the big figure in uniform and 
thought he was the deuce of a Staff swell who wanted 
solitude. I thought of stretching my legs in the cor- 
ridor, and was just getting up to do it when somebody 
slid the door open and a big figure blocked the light. 

He was wearing a heavy ulster and a green felt hat. 
He saluted Stumm, who looked up angrily, and smiled 
pleasantly on us both. 

"Say, gentlemen," he said, "have you room in here 
for a little one? I guess I'm about smoked out of 
my car by your brave soldiers. IVe gotten a delicate 
stomach. . . ." 

Stumm had risen with a brow of wrath, and looked 
as if he were going to pitch the intruder off the train. 
Then he seemed to halt and collect himself, and the 
other's face broke into a friendly grin. 

"Why, it's Colonel Stumm," he cried. (He pro- 
nounced it like the first syllable in "stomach"). "Very 
pleasedto meet you again, Colonel. I had the honour 
of making your acquaintance at our Embassy. I reckon 
Ambassador Gerard didn't cotton to our conversation 
that night." And the new-comer plumped himself 
down in the corner opposite me. 

I had been pretty certain I would run across Blen- 
kiron somewhere in Germany, but I didn't think it 
would be so soon. There he sat staring at me with his 
full unseeing eyes, rolling out platitudes to Stumm, 
who was nearly bursting in his effort to keep civil. I 
looked moody and suspicious, which I took to be the 
right line. 




^^Thlngs are getting a bit dead at Salonika/' said 
Mr. Blenkiron by way of a conversational opening. 

Stumm pointed to a notice which warned officers to 
, refrain from discussing military operations with mixed 

company in a railway carriage. 

"Sorry," said Blenkiron, "I can't read that tomb- 
stone language of yours. But I reckon that that 
notice to trespassers, whatever it signifies, don't apply 
to you and me. I take it this gentleman is iti your 

I sat and scowled, fixing the American with sus- 
s, piciouis eyes. 

y "He is a Dutchman,", said Stumm; "South African 

Dutch, and he is not happy, for he doesn't like to hear 
English spoken." 

"We'll shake on that," said Blenkiron cordially. 
"But who said I spoke English? It's good American. 
Cheer up, friend, for it isn't the call that makes the 
big wapiti, as they say out west in my country. I 
hate John Bull worse than a poison rattle. The 
Cojonel can tell you that." 

I dare say he could, but at that moment we slowed 
down at a station and Stumm got up to go out. 
"Good-day to you, Herr Blenkiron," he cried over his 
shoulder. "If you consider your comfort, don't talk 
English to strange travellers. They don't distinguish 
between the different brands." 

I followed him in a hurry, but was recalled by 
Blenkiron'^ voice. 


"Say, friend," he cried, "you've left your grip," 
and he handed mef my bag from the luggage rack. But 
he showed no sign of recognition, and the last I saw 
of him was sitting sunk in a comer with his head on 




his chest as if he were going to sleep. He was a man 
who kept up his parts well. 

There was a motor-car waiting—one of the grey 
military kind — and we started at a terrific pace over 
bad forest roads. Stumm had put away his papers in 
a portfolio, and flung me a few sentences on the 

"I haven't made up my mind about you, Brandt," 
he announced. '^You may be a fool or a knave or a 
good man. If you are a knave, we will shoot you." 

"And if I am a fool?" I asked 

"Send you to the Yser or the Dvina. You ^11 be 
respectable cannon-fodder." 

"You cannot do that unless I consent," I said. 

"Can't we?" he said, smiling wickedly. "Remem- 
ber you are a citizen of nowhere. Technically you are 
a rebel, and the British, if you go to them, will hang 
you, supposing they have any sense. You are in our 
power, my friend, to do precisely what we like with 

He was silent for a second, and then he said medi- 
tatively : 

"But I don't think you are a fool. You may be a 
scoundrel. Some kinds of scoundrel are useful enough. 
Other kinds are strung up with a rope. Of that we 
shall know more soon." 

^And if I am a good man?" 

'You will be given a chance to serve Germany, the 
proudest privilege a mortal can have." The strange 
man said this with a ringing sincerity in his voice that 
impressed me. 

The car swung out from the trees into a park lined 
with saplings, and in the twilight I saw before me a 
biggish house like an overgrown Swiss chalet There 






was a kind of archway, with a sham portcullis, and a 
terrace with battlements which looked as if they were 
made of stucco. We drew up at a Gothic front door, 

I where a thin middle-aged man in a shooting jacket 

was waiting. 

As we moved into the lighted hall I got a good look 
at our host. He was very lean and brown, with the 
stoop in the shoulder that a man gets from being con- 
stantly on horseback. He had untidy grizzled hair 
and a ragged beard, and a pair of pleasant, short- 
sighted brown eyes. 

v\ "Welcome, my Colonel," he said. "Is this the friend 

J you spoke of?" 

"This is the Dutchman," said Stumm. "His name 

I is Brandt. Brandt, you see before you Herr Gaudian." 

I knew the name of course; there weren't many in 
my profession that didn't. He was one of the biggest 
railway engineers in the world, the man who had built 
the Bagdad and Syrian railways, and the new lines 
in German East. I suppose he was about the greatest 
living authority on tropical construction. He knew 
the East and he knew Africa; clearly I had been 
brought down for him to^put me through my paces. 

A blonde maidservant took me to my room, which 
had a bare polished floor, a stove, and windows that, 
unlike most of the German kind I had sampled, seemed 
made to open. When I had washed I descended to 
the hall, which was hung round with trophies of travel, 
like Dervish jibbahs and Masai shields and one or two 
good buffalo heads. Presently a bell was rung. Stumm 
appeared with his host, and we went in to supper. 
I was jolly hungry and would have made a good 

i meal if I hadn't constantly had to keep jogging my 

; wits. The other two talked in German, and when a 




question was put to me Stumm translated. The first 
thing I had to do was to pretend I didn't know Ger- 
man and look listlessly round the room while they 
were talking. The second was to miss not a word, 
for there lay my chance. The third was to be ready to 
answer questions at any moment, and to show in the 
answering that I had not followed the previous con- 
versation. Likewise I must not prove myself a fool 
in these answers, for I had to convince them that I 
was useful. It took some doing, and I felt like a wit- 
ness in the box under a stiff cross-examination, or a man 
trying to play three games of chess at once. 

I heard Stumm telling Gaudian the gist of my plan. 
The engineer shook his head. 

"Too late," he said. "It should have been done at 
the beginning. We neglected Africa. You know the 
reason why." 

Stumm laughed. "The von Einem! Perhaps, but 
her charm works well enough." 

Gaudian glanced towards me while I was busy with 
an orange salad. "I have much to tell you of that. 
But it can wait. Your friend is right in one thing. 
Uganda is a vital spot for the English, and a blow 
there will make their whole fabric shiver. But how 
can we strike? They have still the coast, and our 
supplies grow daily smaller." 

"We can send no reinforcements, but have We used 
all the local resources ? That is what I cannot satisfy 
myself about. Zimmerman says we have, but Tressler 
thinks differently, and now we have this fellow coming 
out of the void with a story which confirms my doubt. 
He seems to know his job. You try him." ^ 

Thereupon Gaudian set about questioning me, and 
his questions were very thorough. I knew just enough 




and no more to get through, but I think I came out 
with credit. You see I have a capacious memory, and 
in my time I had met scores of hunters and pioneers 
and listened to their yarns, so I could pretend to knowl- 
edge of a place even when I hadn't been there. Be- 
sides, I had once been on the point of undertaking a job 
up Tanganyika way, and I had got up that country- 
side pretty accurately. 

"You say that with our help you can make trouble 
for the British on the three borders?" Gaudian asked 
at length. 

"I can spread the fire if some one else will kindle 
i it," I said. 

"But there are thousands of tribes with no affini- 

"They are all African. You can bear me out. All 
African peoples are alike in one thing — they can go 
mad, and the madness of one infects the others. The 
English know this well enough." 

"Where would you start the fire?" he asked. 

"Where the fuel is dryest. Up in the North among 
the Mussulman peoples. But there you must help 
me. I know nothing about Islam, and I gather that 
you do." 

"Why?" he asked. 

"Because of what you have done already," I an- 

Stumm had translated all this time, and had given 

the sense of my words very fairly. But with my last 

^ answer he took liberties. What he gave was: "Be- 

H cause the Dutchman thinks that we have some big 

H card in dealing with the Moslem world." Then, low- 

1 ering his voice, and raising his eyebrows he said some 

i word like "Uhnmantl." 

i 84 


The other looked with a quick glance of apprehen- 
sion at me. "We had better continue our talk in 
private, Herr Colonel," he said. "If Herr Brandt 
will forpve us, we will leave him for a little to enter- 
tain himself." He pushed the oigar-box towards me 
and the two got up and left the room. 

I pulled my chair up to the stove, and would have 
liked to drop off to sleep. The tensfin of the talk at 
supper had made me very tired. I was accepted by 
these men for exactly what I professed to be. Stumm 
might suspect me of being a rascal, but it was a Dutch 
rascal. But all the same I was skating on thin ice. 
I could not sink myself utterly in the part, for if I 
did I would get no good out of being there. I had 
to keep my wits going all the time, and join the appear- 
ance and manners of a back-veld Boer with the men- 
tality of a British intelligence-officer. Any moment 
the two parts might clash and I would be faced with 
the most alert and deadly suspicion. 

There would be no mercy from Stumm. That large 
man was beginning to fascinate me, even though I 
hated him. Gaudian was clearly a good fellow, a 
white man and a gentleman. I could have worked with 
him, for he belonged to my own totem. But the other 
was an incarnation of all that makes Germany de- 
tested, and yet he wasn't altogether the ordinary Ger- 
man, and I couldn't help admiring him. I noticed he 
neither smoked nor drank. His grossness was appar- 
ently not in the way of fleshly appetites. Cruelty, from 
all I had heard of him in German South West, was his 
hobby; but there were other things in him, some of 
them good, and he had that kind of crazy patriotism 
which becomes a religion. I wondered why he had 
not somi; high command in the field, for he had had 






the name of a good soldier. But propably he was a 
big man in his own line, whatever it was, for the Un- 
der-Secretary fellow had talked small in his presence, 
and so great a man as Gaudian clearly respected him. 
There must be no lack of brains inside that funny 
pyramidal head. 

As I sat beside the stove I was casting back to 
think if I had got the slightest clue to my real job. 
There seemed to be nothing so far. Stumm had talked 
of a von Einem woman who was interested in his de- 
partment, perhaps the same woman as the Hilda he had 
mentioned the day before to the Under-Secretary. 
There was not much In that. She was probably some 
minister's or ambassador's wife who had a finger in 
high politics. If I could have caught the word Stumm 
had whispered to Gaudian which made him start and 
look askance at me I But I had only heard a gurgle 
of something like "Unmantl," which wasn't any Ger- 
man word that I knew. 

The heat put me into a half-doze and I began dream- 
ily to wonder what other people were doing. Where 
had Blenkiron been posting to in that train, and what 
was he up to at this moment? He had been hobnob- 
bing with ambassadors and swells — I wondered if he 
had found out anything. What was Peter doing? I 
fervently hoped he was behaving himself, for I doubted 
if Peter had really tumbled to the delicacy of our 
job. Where was Sandy, too? As like as not bucket- 
ing in the hold of some Greek coaster in the iEgean. 
Then I thought of my battalion somewhere on the line 
between HuUuch and La Bassee, hammering at the 
Boche, while I was five hundred miles or so inside the 
Boche frontier. 

It was a comic reflection, so comic that it woke me 



up. After trying in vain to find a way of stoking that 
stove, for it was a cold night, I got up and walked 
about the room. There were portraits of two decent 
old fellows, probably Gaudian's parents. There were 
enlarged photographs, too, of engineering works, and 
a good picture of Bismardc. And close to the stove 
there was a case of maps mounted on rollers. 

I pulled out one at random. It was a geological 
map of Germany, and with some trouble I found out 
where I was. I was an enormous distance from my 
goal, and moreover I was clean off the road to the 
East. To go there I must first go to Bavaria and then 
into Austria. I noticed the Danube flowing eastwards 
and remembered that that was one way to Constanti- 
nople. \ 

Then I tried another map. This one covered a big 
area, all Europe from the Rhine and as far east as 
Persia. I guessed that it was meant to show the Bag- 
dad railway and the through routes from Germany to 
Mesopotamia. There were markings on it; and, as 
I looked closer, I saw that there were dates scribbled 
in blue pencil, as if to denote the stages of a journey. 
The dates began in Europe, and continued right on into 
Asia Minor and then south to Syria. 

For a moment my heart jumped, for I thought I 
had fallen by accident on the clue I wanted. But I 
never got that map examined. I heard footsteps in 
the corridor, and very gently I let the map roll up and 
turned away. When the door opened I was bending 
over the stove trying to get a light for my pipe. 

It was Gaudian, to bid me join him and Stumm in 
his study. 

On our way there he put a kindly hand on my 
shoulder. I think he thought I was bullied by Stumm 



and wanted to tell me that he was my friend, and he 
had no other language than a pat on the back. 

The soldier was in his old position with his elbows 
on the mantelpiece and his formidable great jaw stuck 

"Listen to me,'* he said. "Herr Gaudian and I are 
inclined to make use of you. You may be a charlatan, 
in which case you will be in the devil of a mess and 
have yourself to thank for it. If you are a rogue you 
will have little scope for roguery. We will see to that. 
If you are a fool, you will yourself suffer for it. But 
if you are a good man, you will have a fair chance, and 
if you succeed we will not forget it. To-morrow I go 
home and you will come with me and get your orders.'* 

I made shift to stand at attention and salute. 

Gaudian spoke in a pleasant voice, as if he wanted 
to atone for Stumm's imperiousness. "We are men 
who love our Fatherland, Herr Brandt," he said. 
"You are not of that Fatherland, but at least you hate 
its enemies. Therefore we are allies, and trust each 
other like allies. Our victory is ordained by God, and 
we are none of us more than His instruments." 

Stumm translated in a sentence, and his voice was 
quite solemn. He held up his right hand and so did 
Gaudian, like a man taking an oath or a parson blessing 
his congregation. 

Then I realised something of the might of Germany. 
She produced good and bad, cads and gentlemen, but 
she could put a bit of the fanatic into them all. 




I WAS standing stark naked next morning in that 
icy bedroom, trying to bathe in about a quart of 
water, when Stumm entered. He strode up to me and 
stared me in the face. I was half a head shorter than 
he to begin with, and a man does not feel his stoutest 
when he has no clothes, so he had the pull of me every 
way. I 

"I have reason to believe that you are a liar,'* he 

I pulled the bed-cover round me, for I was shivering 
with cold, and the German idea of a towel is a pocket- 
handkerchief. I own I was in a pretty blue funk. 

"A liarl" he repeated. "You and that swine Pie- 

With my best effort at surliness I asked what we 
had done. 

"You lied, because you said you knew no German. 
Apparently your friend knows enough to talk treason 
and blasphemy." 

This gave me back some heart 

"I told you I knew a dozen words. But I told you 
Peter could talk it a bit. I told you that yesterday at 
the station." Fervently I blessed my luck for that 
casual remark. 

He evidently remembered, for his tone became a 
trifle more civil. 






"You are a precious pain If one of you is a scoun- 
drel, why not the other?" 

"I take no responsibility for Peter," I said. I felt 
I was a cad in saying it but that was the bargain we 
had made at the start. "I have known him for years 
as a great hunter and a brave man. I know he fought 
well against the English. But more I cannot tell you. 
You have to judge him for yourself. What has he 

I was told, for Stumm had got it that morning on 
the telephone. While telling it he was kind enough 
to allow me to put on my trousers. 
4 It was just the sort of thing I might have foreseen. 

^ Peter, left alone, had become fi it bored and then reck- 

/ less. He had persuaded the lieutenant to take him out 

to supper at a big Berlin restaurant. There, inspired 
by the lights and music — ^novel things for a backveld 
hunter — and no doubt bored stiff by his company, he 
had proceeded to get drunk. That had happened in 
my experience with Peter about once in three years, and 
it always happened for the same reason. Peter, bored 
and solitary in a town, went on the spree. He had a 
head like a rock, but he got to the required condition 
by wild mixing. He was quite a gentleman in his cups, 
and not in the least violent, but he was apt to be very 
free with his tongue. And that was what occurred at 
the Franciscana. 

He had begun by insulting the Emperor, it seemed. 
He drank his health, but said he reminded him of a 
wart-hog, and thereby scarified the lieutenant's soul. 
Then an officer — some tremendous swell — at an ad- 
joining table had objected to his talking so loud, and 
Peter had replied insolently in respectable German. 
After that things became mixed. There was some kind 



of a fight, during which Peter calumniated the German 
army and' all its female ancestry. How he wasn't shot 
or run through I can't imagine, except that the lieu- 
tenant loudly proclaimed that he was a crazy Boer. 
Anyhow the upshot was that Peter was marched off to 
gaol, and I was left in a pretty pickle. 

"I don't believe a word of It," I said firmly. I had 
most of my clothes on now and felt more courageous. 
"It is all a plot to get him into disgrace and draft him 
off to the front." 

Stumm did not storm as I expected, but smiled. 

"That was always his destiny," he said, "ever since 
I saw him. He was no use to us except as a man with 
a rifle. Cannon-fodder, nothing else. Do you imagine, 
you fool, that this great Empire in the thick of a 
world-war is going to trouble its head to lay snares for 
an ignorant traakhaarV^ 

"I wash my hands of him," I said. "If what you 
say of his folly is true I have no part in it. But he 
was my companion and I wish him well. What do 
you propose to do with him?" 

"We shall keep him under our eye," he said, with a 
wicked twist of the mouth. "I have a notion that 
there is more at the back of this than appears. We 
will investigate the antecedents of Herr Pienaar. And 
you, too, my friend. On you also we have our eye." 

I did the best thing I could have done, for what 
with anxiety and disgust I lost my temper. 

"Look here, sir," I cried, "I've had about enough 
of this. I came to Germany abominating the English 
and burning to strike a blow for you. But you haven't 
given me much cause to love you. For the last two 
days I've had nothing from you but suspicion and in- 
sult. The only decent man I've met is Herr Gaudian. 



It's because I believe that there are many in Germany 
like him that I'm prepared to go on with this business 
and do the best I can. But, by God, I wouldn't raise 
my little finger for your sake." 

He looked at me very steadily for a minute. "That 
sounds like honesty," he said at last in a civil voice. 
"You had better come down and get your coffee." 

I was safe for the moment but in very low spirits. 
What on earth would happen to poor old Peter? I 
could do nothing even if I wanted, and, besides, my 
first duty was to my mission. I had made this very 
clear to him at Lisbon and he had agreed, but all the 
same it was a beastly reflection. Here was that ancient 
worthy left to the tender mercies of the people he most 
detested on earth. My only comfort was that they 
couldn't do very much with him. If they sent him to 
the front, which was the worst they could do, he would 
escape, for I would have backed him to get through 
any mortal lines. It wasn't much fun for me either. 
Only when I was to be deprived of it did I realise how 
much his company had meant to me. I ^as absolutely 
alone now, and I didn't like it. I seemed to have 
about as much chance of joining Blenkiron and Sandy 
as of flying to the moon. 

After breakfast I was told to get ready. When I 
asked where I was going Stumin advised me to mind 
my own business, but I remembered that last night' 
he had talked of taking me home with him and giving 
me my orders. I wondered where his home was. 

Gaudian patted me on the back when we started and 
wrung my hand. He was a capital good fellow, and 
it made me feel sick to think that I was humbugging 
him. We got into the same big grey car, with Stumm's 
servant sitting beside the chauffeur. It was a mom* 




ing of hard frost, the bare fields were white with rime, 
and the fir-trees powdered like a wedding-cake. We 
took a different road from the night before, and after 
a run of half a dozen miles came to a little town with 
a big railway station. It was a junction on some main 
line, and after five minutes' waiting we found our 

Once again we were alone in the carriage. Stumm 
must have had some colossal graft,, for the train was 

I had another three hours of complete boredom. 
I dared not smoke, and could do nothing but stare out 
of the window. We soon got into hilly country, where 
a good deal of snow was lying. It was the 23rd day 
of December, and even in war time one had a sort of 
feel of Christmas. You could see girls carrying ever- 
greens, and when we stopped at a station the soldiers 
on leave had all the air of holiday making. The mid- 
dle of Germany was a cheerier place than Berlin or 
the western parts. I liked the look of the old peasants, 
and the women in their neat Sunday best, but I noticed, 
too, how pinched they were. Here in the country, 
where no neutral tourists came, there was not the same 
stage-management as in the capital. 

Stumm made an attempt to talk to me on the jour- 
ney. I could see his aim. Before this he had cross- 
examined me, but now he wanted to draw me into 
ordinary conversation. He had no notion how to do 
it He was either peremptory and provocative, like 
a drill-sergeant, or so obviously diplomatic that any 
fool would have been put on his guard. That is the 
weakness of the German. He has no gift for laying 
himself alongside different types of men. He is such 
a hard-shell being that he cannot put out feelers to 




his kind. He may have plenty of brains, as Stumm 
had, but he has the poorest notion of psychology of 
any of God's creatures. In Germany only the Jew can 
get outside himself, and that is why, if you look into 
the matter, you will find that the Jew is at the back 
of most German enterprises. 

After midday we stopped at a station for luncheon. 
We had a very good meal in the restaurant, and when 
we were finishing two officers entered. Stumm got up 
and saluted and went aside to talk to them. Then 
he came back and made me follow him to a waiting- 
room, where he told me to stay till he fetched me. I 
noticed that he called a porter and had the door locked 
when he went out. 

It was a chilly place with no fire, and I kicked my 
heels there for twenty minutes. I was living by the 
hour now, and did not trouble to worry about this 
strange behaviour. There was a volume of time- 
tables on a shelf, and I turned the pages idly till I 
struck a big railway map. Then it occurred to me to 
find out where we were going. I had heard Stumm 
take my ticket for a place called Schwandorf, and after 
a lot of searching I found it. It was away south in 
Bavaria, and so far as I could make out less than fifty 
miles from the Danube. That cheered me enormously. 
If Stumm lived there he would most likely start me 
off on my travels by the railway which I saw running 
to Vienna and then on to the East. It looked as if I 
might get to Constantinople after all. But I feared 
it would be a useless achievement, for what could I 
do when I got there? I was being hustled out of Ger- 
many without picking up the slenderest clue. 

The door opened and Stumm entered. He seemed 



to have got bigger in the interval and to carry his head 
higher. There was a proud light, too, in his eye. 

"Brandt," he said, "you are about to receive the 
greatest privilege which ever fell to one of your race. 
His Imperial Majesty is passing through here, and 
has halted for a few minutes. He has done me the 
honour to receive me, and when he heard my story he 
expressed a wish to see you. You will follow me to 
his presence. Do not be afraid. The All-Highest 
is merciful and gracious. Answer his questions like 
a man. 

I followed him with a quickened pulse. Here was 
a bit of luck I had never dreamed of. At the far side 
of the station a train had drawn up, a train consisting 
of three big coaches, chocolate-coloured and picked out 
with gold. On the platform beside it stood a small 
group of officers, tall men in long grey-blue cloaks. 
They seemed to be mostly elderly, and one or two of 
tile faces I thought I remembered from photographs 
in the picture papers.^ As we approached they drew 
apart, and left us face to face with one man. He was 
a little below middle height, and all muffled in a thick 
coat with a fur collar. He wore a silver helmet with 
an eagle atop of it, and kept his left hand resting on 
his sword. Below the helmet was a face the colour 
of grey paper, from which shone curious sombre rest- 
less eyes with dark pouches beneath them. There was 
no fear of my mistaking him. These were the fea- 
tures which, since Napoleon, have been best known to 
die world. 

I stood as stiff as a ramrod and saluted. I was per- 
fectly cool and most desperately interested. For such 
a moment I would have gone through fire and water. 



"Majesty, this is the Dutchman I spoke of," I heard 
Stumm say. 

"What language does he speak?" the Emperor 

"Dutch," was the reply; "but being a South African 
he also talks English." 

A spasm of pain seemed to flit over the face before 
me. Then he addressed me in English. 

"You have come from a land which will yet be 
ours to offer your sword to our service? I accept the 
gift and hail it as a good omen. I would have given 
your race its freedom, but there were fools and 
traitors among you who misjudged me. But that free- 
dom I shall yet give you in spite of yourselves. Arc 
there many like you in your country?" 

"There are thousands, sire," I said, lying cheerfully. 
"I am one of many who think that my race's life lies 
in your victory. And I think that that victory must 
ibe won not in Europe alone. In South Africa for the 
moment there is no chance, so we look to other parts 
of the continent. You will win in Europe. You have 
won in the East, and it now remains to strike the Eng- 
lish where they cannot fend the blow. If we take 
Uganda, Egypt will fall. By your permission I go 
there to make trouble for your enemies." 

A flicker of a smile passed over the worn face. It 
was the face of one who slept little and whose thoughts 
rode him like a nightmare. 

"That is well," he said. "Some Englishman once 
said that he would call in the New World to redress 
the balance of the Old. We Germans will summon 
the whole earth to suppress the infamies of England. 
Serve us well, and you will not be forgotten." 





Then he suddenly asked : "Did you fight in the last 
South African War?'* 

"Yes, sire," I said. "I was in the commando of 
that Smuts who has now been bought by England." 

"What were your countrymen's losses?" he asked 

I did not know, but I hazarded a guess. "In the 
field some twenty thousand. But many more by sick- 
ness and in the accursed prison-camps of the English." 

Again a spasm of pain crossed his face. 

"Twenty thousand," he repeated huskily. "A mere 
handful. To-day we lose as many in a skirmish in the 
Polish marshes." 

Then he broke out fiercely. 

"I did not seek the war. ... It was forced on me. 
... I laboured for peace. . . . The blood of millions 
is on the heads of England and Russia, but England 
most of all. God will yet avenge it. He that takes 
the sword will perish by the sword. Mine was forced 
from the scabbard in self-defence, and I am guiltless. 
Do they know that among your people?" 

"All the world knows it, sire," I said. 

He gave his hand to Stumm and turned away. The 
last I saw of him was a figure moving like a sleep- 
walker, with no spring in his step, amid his tall suite. 
I felt that I was looking on at a far bigger tragedy 
than any I had seen in action. Here was one that 
had losed Hell, and the furies of Hell had got hold 
of him. He was no common man, for in his presence 
I felt an attraction which was not merely the mastery 
of one used to command. That would not have im- 
pressed me, for I had never owned a master. But 
here was a human being who, unlike Stumm and his 
kind, had the power of laying himself alongside other 



men. That was the irony of it. Stumm would not 
have cared a tinker's curse for all the massacres in 
history. But this man, the chief of a nation of Stumms, 
paid the price in war for the gifts that had made him 
successful in peace. He had imagination and nerves, 
and the one was white hot and the others were quiver- 
ing. I would not have been in his shoes for the throne 
of the Universe. ... 

All afternoon we sped southward, mostly in a coun- 
try of hills and wooded valleys. Stumm, for him, was 
very pleasant. His Imperial master must have been 
gracious to him, and he passed a bit of it on to me. 
But he was anxious to see that I had got the right im- 

"The All-Highest is merciful, as I told you," he said. 

I agreed with him. 

"Mercy is the prerogative of kings," he said sen- 
tentiously, "but for us lesser folks it is a trimming we 
can well do without." 

I nodded my approval. 

"I am not merciful," he went on, as if I needed 
telling that. "If any man stands in my way I trample 
the life out of him. That is the German fashion. That 
is what has made us great. We do not make war 
with lavender gloves and fine phrases, but with hard 
steel and hard brains. We Germans will cure the 
green-sickness of the world. The nations rise against 
us. Pouf 1 They are soft flesh, and flesh cannot resist 
iron. The shining ploughshare will cut its way through 
acres of mud." 

I hastened to add that these were also my opinions. 

"What the hell do your opinions matter? You are 
a thick-headed boor of the veld. . . . Not but v/hat," 



he added, "there is metal in you slow Dutchmen once 
we Germans have had the forging of itl" 

The winter evening closed in, and I saw that we 
had come out of the hills and were in a flat country. 
Sometimes a big sweep of river showed, and, looking 
out at one station, I saw a funny church with a thing 
like an onion on the top of its spire. It might almost 
have been a mosque, judging from the pictures I re- 
membered of mosques. I wished to heaven I had 
given geography more attention in my time. 

Presently we stopped, and Stumm led the way out. 
The train must have been specially halted for him, 
for it was a one-horse little place whose name I could 
not make out. The station-master was waiting, bow- 
ing and saluting, and outside was a motor-car with big 
head-lights. Next minute we were sliding through dark 
woods where the snow lay far deeper than in the north. 
There was a mild frost in the air, and the tyres slipped 
and skidded at the corners. 

We hadn't far to go. We climbed a little hill and 
on the top of it stopped at the door of a big black 
castle. It looked enormous in the winter night, with 
not a light showing anywhere on its front. The door 
was opened by an old fellow who took a long time 
about it and got well cursed for his slowness. Inside 
the place looked very noble and ancient. Stumm 
switched on the electric light, and there was a great 
hall with black tarnished portraits of men and women 
in old-fashioned clothes, and mighty horns of deer on 
the walls. 

There seemed to be no superfluity of servants. The 
old fellow said that food was ready, and without more 
ado we went into the dining-room — another vast cham- 
ber with rough stone walls above the paneling — and 



found some cold meats on a table beside a big fire. 
The servant presently brought in a ham omelette, and 
on that and the cold stuff we dined. I remember 
there was nothing to drink but water. It puzzled me 
how Stumm kept his great body going on the very 
moderate amount of food he ate. He was the type 
you expect to swill beer by the bucket and put away 
a pie at a sitting. 

When we had finished, he rang for the old man and 
told him that we should be in the study for the rest 
of the evening. "You can lock up and go to bed when 
you like," he said, "but see you have coffee ready at 
seven sharp in the morning." 

Ever since I entered that house I had the uncom- 
fortable feeling of being in a prison. Here was I 
alone in this great place with a fellow who would, and 
could, wring my neck if he wanted. Berlin and all the 
rest of it had seemed comparatively open country; 
I had felt that I could move freely and at the worst 
make a bolt for it. But here I was trapped, and I 
had to tell myself every minute that I was there as 
a friend and colleague. The fact is, I was afraid of 
Stumm, and I don't mind admitting it. He was a 
new thing in my experience and I didn't like it. If 
only he had drunk and guzzled a bit I should have 
been happier. 

We went up a staircase to a room at iht end of a 
long corridor. Stumm locked the door behind him 
and laid the key on a table. That room took my 
breath away, it was so unexpected. In place of the 
grim bareness of downstairs here was a place all 
luxury and colour and light. It was very large, but 
low in the ceiling, and the walls were full of little 
recesses with statues in them. A thick grey carpet 



of velvet pile covered the floor, and the chairs were low 
and soft and upholstered like a lady's boudoir. A 
pleasant fire burned on the hearth and there was a 
flavour of scent in the air, something like incense or 
burnt sandalwood. A French clock on the mantel- 
piece told me that it was ten minutes past eight. 
Everywhere on little tables and in cabinets was a 
profusion of nicknacks, and there was some beautiful 
embroidery framed on screens. At first sight you 
would have said it was a woman's drawing-room. 

But it wasn't. I soon saw the difference. There 
had never been a woman's hand in that place. It 
was the room of a man who had a passion for frippery, 
who had a perverted taste for soft delicate things. 
It was the complement to his bluff brutality. I began 
to see the queer other side to my host, that evil side 
which gossip had spoken of as not unknown in the 
German army. The room seemed a horribly un- 
wholesome place, and I was more than ever afraid of 

The hearthrug was a wonderful old Persian thing, 
all faint greens and pinks. As he stood on it he 
looked uncommonly like a bull in a china-shop. He 
seemed to bask in the comfort of it, and sniffed like< 
a satisfied animal. Then he sat down at an escritoire, 
unlocked a drawer and took out some papers. 

**Wc will now settle your business, friend Brandt," 
he said. "You will go to Egypt and there take your 
orders from one whose name and address are in this 
envelope. This card," and he lifted a square piece of 
grey pasteboard with a big stamp at the comer and 
some code words stencilled on it, "will be your 
passport. You will show it to the man you seek. 
Keep it jealously, and never use it save under orders 




or in the last necessity. It is your badge as an 
accredited agent of the German Crown." 

I took the card and the envelope and put them in 
my pocket-book. 

"Where do I go after Egypt?" I asked. 

"That remains to be seen. Probably you will go 
up the Blue Nile. Riza, the man you will meet, will 
direct you. Egypt is a nest of our agents who work 
peacefully under the nose of the English Secret 

"I am willing," I said "But how do I reach 
Egypt?" ^ 

"You will travel by Holla^d and London. Here is 
your route," and he took a paper from his pocket. 
"Your passports are ready and will be given you at 
the frontier." 

This was a pretty kettle of fish. I was to be 
packed off to Cairo by sea, which would take weeks, 
and God knows how I would get from Egypt to 
Constantinople. I saw all my plans falling in pieces 
about my ears, and just when I thought they were 
shaping nicely. 

Stumm must have interpreted the look on my face 
as fear. 

"You Jiave no cause to be afraid," he said. "We 
have passed the word to the English police to look 
out for a suspicious South African named Brandt, 
one of Maritz's rebels. It is not difficult to have 
that kind of hint conveyed to the proper quarter. 
But the description will not be yours. Your name 
will be Van der Linden, a respectable Java merchant 
going home to his plantations after a visit to his 
native shores. You had better get your dossier by 



heart, but I guarantee you will be asked no questions. 
We manage these things well in Germany." 

I kept my eyes on the fire, while I did some savage 
thinking. I knew they would not let me out of 
their sight till they saw me in Holland, and, once 
there, there would be no possibility of getting back. 
When I left this house I would have no chance of 
giving them the slip. And yet I was well on my way 
to the East, the Danube could not be fifty miles off, 
and that way ran the road to Constantinople. It was 
a fairly desperate position. If I tried to get away 
Stumm would prevent me, and the odds were that I 
would go to join Peter in some infernal prison-camp. 

Those moments were some of the worst I ever 
spent. I was absolutely and utterly baffled, like a rat 
in a trap. There seemed nothing for it but to go 
back to London and tell Sir Walter the game was up. 
And that was about as bitter as death. 

He saw my face and laughed. 

"Does your heart fail you, my little Dutchman? 
You funk the English? I will tell you one thing for 
your comfort. There is nothing in the world to be 
feared except me. Fail, and you have cause to shiver. 
Play me false and you had far better never have 
been bom." 

His ugly sneering face was close above mine. Then 
he put out his hands and gripped my shoulders as he 
had done the first afternoon. 

I forget if I mentioned that part of the damage 
I got at Loos was a shrapnel bullet low down at the 
back of my neck. The wound had healed well enough, 
but I had pains there on a cold day. His fingers found 
the place and it hurt like hell. 

There is a very narrow line between despair and 




black rage. I had about given up the game, but the 
sudden ache of my shoulder gave me purpose again. 
He must have seen the rage in my eyes, for his own 
became cruel. 

"The weasel would like to bite," he said, "but the 
poor weasel has found its master. Stand still, vermin. 
Smile, look pleasant, or I will make pulp of you. Do 
you dare to frown at me?" 

I shut my teeth and said never a word. I was chok- 
ing in my throat and could not have uttered a syllable 
if I had tried. 

Then he let me go, grinning like an ape. 

I stepped back a pace and gave him my left between 
the eyes. 

For a second he did not realise what had happened, 
for I don't suppose any one had dared to lift a hand 
to him since he was a child. He blinked at me mildly. 
Then his face grew red as fire. 

"God in Heaven," he said quietly. "I am going to 
kill you," and he flung himself on me like a mountain. 

I was expecting him and dodged the attack. I was 
quite calm now, but pretty hopeless. The man had 
a gorilla's reach and could give me at least a couple 
of stone. He wasn't soft either, but looked as hard 
as granite. I was only just from hospital and absurdly 
out of training. He would certainly kill me if he 
could, and I saw nothing to prevent him. 

My only chance was to keep him from getting to 
grips, for he could have squeezed in my ribs in two 
seconds. I fancied I was lighter on my legs than he, 
and I had a good eye. Black Monty at Kimberley 
had taught me to fight a bit, but there is no art on 
earth which can prevent a big man in a narrow space 



from sooner or later cornering a lesser one. That 
was the danger. 

Backwards and forwards we padded on the soft 
carpet. He had no notion of guarding himself, and 
I got in a good few blows. Then I saw a queer thing. 
Every time I hit him he blinked and seemed to pause. 
I guessed the reason for that. He had gone through 
life keeping the crown of the causeway, and nobody 
had ever stood up to him. He wasn't a coward by 
a long chalk, but he was a bully, and had never been 
struck in his life. He was getting struck now in real 
earnest, and he didn't like it. He had lost his bear- 
ings and was growing as mad as a hatter. 

I kept half an eye on the clock. I was hopeful now, 
and was looking for the right kind of chance. The 
risk was that I might tire sooner than he and be at his 

Then I learned a truth I have never forgotten. If 
you are fighting a man who means to kill you, he will 
be apt to down you unless you mean to kill him too. 
Stumm did not know any rules to this game, and I 
forgot to allow for that. Suddenly, when I was watch- 
ing his eyes, he launched a mighty kick at my stoAiach. 
If he had got me, this yarn would have had an abrupt 
ending. But by the mercy of God I was moving side- 
ways when he let out, and his heavy boot just grazed 
my left thigh. 

It was the place where most of the shrapnel had 
lodged, and for a second I was sick with pain, and 
stumbled. Then I was on my feet again but with a new 
feeling in my blood. I had to smash Stirnim or never 
sleep in my bed again. 

I got a wonderful power from this new cold rage 
of mine. I felt I couldn't tire, and I danced round and 



dotted his face till it was streaming with blood. His 
bulky padded chest was no good to me, so I couldn't 
try for the mark. 

He began to snort now and his breath came heavily. 
"You infernal cad," I said in good round English, 
"Fm going to knock the stuffing out of you," but he 
didn't know what I was saying. 

Then at last he gave me my chance. He half 
tripped over a little table and his face stuck forward. 
I got him on the point of the chin, and put every 
ounce of weight I possessed behind the blow* He 
crumpled up in a heap and rolled over, upsetting a 
lamp and knocking a big China jar in two. His head, 
I remember, lay under the escritoire from which he 
had taken my passport. 

I picked up the key and unlocked the door. In 
one of the gilded mirrors I smoothed my hair and 
tidied up my clothes. My anger had completely gone 
and I had no particular ill-will left against Stumm. 
He was a man of remarkable qualities, which would 
have brought him to the highest distinction in the 
Stone Age. But for all that he and his kind were 
back numbers. 

I stepped out of the room, locked the door behind 
me, and started out on the second stage of my travels. 





EVERYTHING depended on whether the servant 
was in the hall. I had put Stumm to sleep for 
a bit, but I couldn't flatter myself he would long be 
quiet, and when he came to he would kick the locked 
door to matchwood. I must get out of the house with- 
out a minute's delay, and if the door was shut and 
the old man gone to bed I was done. 

I met him at the foot of the stairs, carrying a 

^Tour master wants me to send off an important 
telegram. Where is the nearest oflice ? There's one 
in the village, isn't there?" I spoke in my best Ger- 
man, the first time I had used the tongue since I crossed 
the frontier. 

"The village is five minutes off at the foot of the 
avenue," he said. "Will you be long, sir?'* 

"I'll be back in a quarter of an hour," I said. 
"Don't lock up till I get in." 

I put on my ulster and walked out into a clear 
starry night. My bag I left lying on a settle in the 
hall. There was nothing in it to compromise me, but 
I wished I could have got a toothbrush and some to- 
bacco out of it. 

So began one of the craziest escapades you can well 
imagine. I couldn't stop to think of the future yet, 



but must take one step at a time. So I ran down the 
avenue, my feet crackling on the hard snow, planning 
hard my programme for the next hour. 

I found the village — ^half a dozen houses with one 
biggish place that looked like an inn. The moon was 
rising, and as I approached I saw that it was some 
kind of a store. A funny little two-seated car was 
purring before the door, and I guessed this was also 
the telegraph office. 

I marched in and told my story to a stout woman 
with spectacles on her nose who was talking to a young 

"It is too late,*' she shook her head. "The Herr 
Burgrave knows that well. There is no connection 
from here after eight o'clock. If the matter is urgent 
you must go to Schwandorf." 

"How far is that?" I asked, looking for some excuse 
to get decently out of the shop. 

"Seven miles," she said, "but here is Franz and the 
post-wagon. Franz, you will be glad to give the gen- 
tleman a seat beside you." 

The sheepish-looking youth muttered something 
which I took to be assent, and finished off a glass of 
beer. From his eyes and manner he looked as if he 
were half drunk. 

I thanked the woman, and went out to the car, for 
I was in a fever to take advantage of this unexpected 
bit of luck. I could hear the postmistress enjoining 
Franz not to keep the gentleman waiting, and pres- 
ently he came out and flopped into the driver's seat. 
We started in a series of voluptuous curves, till his 
eyes got accustomed to the darkness. 

At first we made good going along the straight, 
broad highway lined with woods on one side and on 




the other snowy fields melting into haze. Then he 
began to talk, and, as he talked, he slowed down. 
This by no means suited my book, and I seriously won- 
dered whether I should pitch him out and take charge 
of the thing. He was obviously a weakling, left be- 
hind in the conscription, and I could have done it 
with one hand. But by a fortunate chance I left him 

"That is a fine hat of yours, mein Herr," he said. 
He took off his own blue peaked cap, the uniform, 
I suppose, of the driver of the post-wagon, and laid 
it on his knee. The night air ruffled a shock of tow- 
coloured hair. 

Then he calmly took my hat and dapped it on his 

"With this thing I should be a gentleman,'' he said 

I said nothing, but put on his cap and waited. 

"That is a noble overcoat, mein Herr," he went 
on. "It goes well with the hat. It is the kind of 
garment I have always desired to own. In two days 
it will be the holy Christmas, when gifts are given. 
Would that the good God sent me such a coat as 
yours 1" 

"You can try it on to see how it looks," I said good- 

He stopped the car with a jerk, and pulled off his 
blue coat. The exchange was soon effected. He was 
about my height, and my ulster fitted not so badly. 
I put on his overcoat, which had a big collar that 
buttoned round the neck. 

The idiot preened himself like a girl. Drink and 
vanity had primed him for any folly. He drove so 
carelessly for a bit that he nearly put us into a ditch. 



We passed several cottages and at the last he slowed 

"A friend of mine lives here," he announced. "Ger- 
trud would like to see me in the fine clothes which 
the most amiable Herr has given me. Wait for me, 
I will not be long." And he scrambled out of the 
car and lurched into the little garden. 

I took his place and moved very slowly forward. I 
heard the door open and the sound of laughing and 
loud voices. Then it shut, and looking back I saw 
that my idiot had been absorbed into the dwelling of 
his Gertrud. I waited no longer, but sent the car 
forward at its best speed 

Five minutes later the infernal thing began to give 
trouble — a nut loose in the antiquated steering-gear. 
I unhooked a lamp, examined it, and put the mis- 
chief right, but I was a quarter of an hour doing it. 
The highway ran now in a thick forest and I noticed 
branches going off every now and then to the right. 
I was just thinking of turning up one of them, for 
I had no anxiety to visit Schwandorf, when I heard 
behind me the sound of a great car driven furiously. 

I drew in to the right side — thank goodness I re- 
membered the rule of the road — and proceeded deco-. 
rously, wondering what was going to happen. I could 
hear the brakes being clapped on and the car slowing 
down. Suddenly a big grey bonnet slipped past me 
and as I turned my head I heard a familiar voice. 

It was Stumm, looking like something that has been 
run over. He had his jaw in a sling, so that I won- 
dered if I had broken it, and his eyes were beautifully 
bunged up. It was that that saved me, that and his 
raging temper. The collar of the postman's coat was 
round my chin, hiding my beard, and I had his cap 



pulled well down on my brow. I remembered what 
Blenkiron had said — ^that the only way to deal with 
the Germans was naked bluff. Mine was naked 
enough, and it was all that was left to me. 

"Where is the man you brought from Andersbach?'* 
he roared, as well as his jaw would allow him. 

I pretended to be mortally scared, and spoke in the 
best imitation I could manage of the postman's high 
cracked voice. 

"He got out a mile back, Herr Burgrave," I 
quavered. "He was a rude fellow who wanted to go 
to Schwandorf, and then changed his mind." 

"Where, you fool? Say exactly where he got down 
or I will wring your neck." 

"In the wood this side of Gertrud's cottage ... on 
the left hand. ... I left him running among the 
trees." I put all the terror I knew into my pipe, and 
it wasn't all acting. 

"He means the Heinrichs' cottage, Herr Colonel," 
said the chauffeur. "This man is courting the 

Stumm gave an order and the great car backed, 
and, as I looked round, I saw it turning. Then as it 
gathered speed it shot forward, and presently was 
lost in the shadows. I had got over the first hurdle. 

But there was no time to be lost. Stumm would 
meet the postman and would be tearing after me any 
minute. I took the first turning, and bucketed along 
a narrow woodland road. The hard ground would 
show very few tracks, I thought, and I hoped the pur- 
suit would think I had gone on to Schwandorf. But 
it wouldn't do to risk it, and I was determined very 
soon to get the car off the road, leave it, and take 



to the forest. I took out my watch and calculated I 
could give myself ten minutes. 

I was very nearly caught. Presently I came on a 
bit of rough heath, with a slope away from the road 
and here and there a patch of shade which I took to be 
a sandpit. Opposite one of these I slewed the car to 
the edge, got out, started it again and saw it pitch 
head-foremost into the darkness. There was a splash 
of water and then silence. Craning over I could see 
nothing but murk, and the marks at the lip where the 
wheels had passed. They would find my tracks in day- 
light but scarcely at this time of night. 

Then I ran across the road to the forest. I was 
only just in time, for 'the echoes of the splash had 
hardly died away when I heard the sound of another 
car. I lay flat in a hollow below a tangle of snow- 
laden brambles and looked between the pine-trees at 
the moonlit road. It was Stumm's car again and to my 
consternation it stopped just a little short of the 

I saw an electric torch flashed, and Stumm himself 
got out and examined the tracks on the highway. 
Thank God, they would be still there for him to find, 
but had he tried half a dozen yards on he would have 
seen them turn towards the sandpit. If that had hap- 
pened he would have beaten the adjacent woods and 
most certainly found me. There was a third man in 
the car, with my hat and coat on him. That poor 
devil of a postman had paid dear for his vanity. 

They took a long time before they started again, 
and I was jolly relieved when they went scouring down 
the road. I ran deeper into the woods till I struck 
a track which — as I judged from the sky which I saw 
in a clearing — ^took me pretty well due west. That 



wasn't the direction I wanted, so I bore off at right 
angles, and presently struck another road which I 
crossed in a hurry. After that I got entangled in some 
confounded kind of enclosure and had to climb paling 
after paling of rough stakes plaited with osiers. Then 
came a rise in the ground and I was on a low hill 
of pines which seemed to last for miles. All the time 
I was going at a good pace, and before I stopped to 
rest I calculated I had put six miles between me and 
the sandpit. 

My mind was getting a little more active now ; for 
the first part of the journey I had simply staggered 
from impulse to impulse. These impulses had been 
uncommon lucky, but I couldn't go on like that for 
ever. Ek sal '« plan maak, says the old Boer when he 
gets into trouble, and it was up to me now to make a 

As soon as I began to think I saw the desperate 
business I was in for. Here was I, with nothing ex- 
cept what I stood up in — including a coat and cap that 
weren't mine — alone in mid-winter in the heart of 
South Germany. There was a man behind me look- 
ing for my blood, and soon there would be a hue-and- 
cry for me up and down the land. I had heard that 
the German police were pretty efficient, and I couldn't 
see that I stood the slimmest chance. If they caught 
me they would shoot me beyond doubt. I asked my- 
self on what charge, and answered, "For knocking 
about a German officer." They couldn't have mc up 
for espionage, for as far as I knew they had no evi- 
dence. I was simply a Dutchman that had got riled 
and had run amok. But if they cut down a cobbler for 
laughing at a second lieutenant — ^which is what hap- 
pened at Zabern — I calculated th^ hanging would be 



too good for a man that had broken a colonel's jaw. 

To make things worse my job was not to escape — 
though that would have been hard enough — but to get 
to Constantinople, more than a thousand miles off, 
and I reckoned I couldn't get there as a tramp. I had 
to be sent there, and now I had flung away my chance. 
If I had been a Catholic I would have said a prayer 
to St. Theresa, for she would have understood my 

My mother used to say that when you felt down on 
your luck it was a good cure to count your mercies. 
So;/I set about counting mine. The first was that I 
was well started on my journey, for I couldn't be above 
two score miles from the Danube. The second was 
that I hiad Stumm's pass. I didn't see how I could 
use it, but there it was. Lastly I had plenty of money 
-^fifty-three English sovereigns and the equivalent of 
three pounds ii) German paper which I had changed 
at the hotel. Also I had squared accounts with old 
Stumm. That was the biggest mercy of all. 

I thought I'd better get some sleep, so I found a 
dryish hole below an oak root and squeezed myself 
into it. The snow lay deep in these woods and I was 
sopping wet up to the knees. All the same I managed 
to sleep for some hours, and got up and shook myself 
just as the winter's dawn was breaking through the 
tree tops. Breakfast was the next thing, and I must 
find some sort of dwelling. 

Almost at once I struck a road, a big highway run- 
ning north and south. I trotted along in that bitter 
morning to get my circulation started, and presently 
I began to feel a little better. In a little I saw a 
church spire, which meant a village. Stumm wouldn't 
be likely to have got on my tracks yet, I calculated, 



but there was always the chance that he had warned 
all the villages round by telephone and that they might 
be on the look-out for me. But that risk had to be 
taken, for I must have food. 

It was the day before Christmas, I remembered, and 
people would be holidaying. The village was quite 
a big place, but at this hour — ^just after eight o'clock 
— ^there was nobody in the street except a wandering 
dog. I chose the most unassuming shop I could find, 
where a little boy was taking down the shutters — one 
of those general stores where they sell everything. 
The boy fetched a very old woman, who hobbled in 
from the back, fitting on her spectacles. 

"Griiss Gott," she said in a friendly voice, and I 
took ofif my cap. I saw from my reflection in a sauce- 
pan that I looked moderately respectable in spite of 
my night in the woods. 

I told her a story of how I was walking from 
Schwandorf to see my mother at an imaginary place 
called Judenf eld, banking on the ignorance of villagers 
about any place five miles from their homes. I said 
my luggage had gone astray, and I hadn't time to wait 
for it, since my leavfc was short. The old lady was 
sympathetic and unsuspecting. She sold me a pound 
of chocolate, a box of biscuits, the better part of a 
ham, two tins of sardines and a rucksack to carry 
them. I also bought some soap, a comb and a cheap 
razor, and a small Tourists' Guide, published by a 
Leipsic Arm. As I was leaving I saw what looked like 
garments hanging up in the back shop, and turned to 
have a look at them. They were the kind of thing 
that Geraians wear on their summer walking-tours — 
long shooting capes made of a green stufif they call 
loden. I bought one, and a green felt hat and an 




alpenstock to keep it company. Then wishing the 
old woman and her l)elongings a merry Christmas, I 
departed and took the shortest cut out of the village. 
There were one or two people about now, but they did 
not seem to notice me. 

I went into the woods again and walked for two 
miles till I halted for breakfast. I was not feeling 
quite so fit now, and I did not make much of my 
provisions, beyond eating a biscuit and some choco- 
late. I felt very thirsty and longed for hot tea. In 
an icy pool I washed and with infinite agony shaved 
my beard. That razor was the worst of its species, 
and my eyes were running all the time with the .pain 
of the operation. Then I took off the postman's coat 
and cap, and buried them below some bushes. I was 
now a clean-shaven German pedestrian with a green 
cape and hat, and an absurd walking-stidc with an 
iron-shod end— the sort of person who roams in thou- 
sands over the Fatherland in summer, but is a rarish 
bird in mid-winter. ^ 

The Tourists' Guide was a fortunate purchase, for 
it contained a big map of Bavaria which gave me my 
bearings. I was certainly not forty miles from the 
Danube — ^more like thirty. The road through the vil- 
lage I had left would have taken me to it. I had only 
to walk due south and I would reach it before night. 
So far as I could make out there were long tongues 
of forest running down to the river, and I resolved 
to keep to the woodlands. At the worst I would 
meet a forester or two, and I had a good enough story 
for them. On the highroad there might be awkward 

When I started out again I felt very stiff and the 
cold seemed to be growing intense. This puzzled me, 



for I had not minded it much up to now, and, being 
warm-blooded by nature, it never used to worry me. 
A sharp winter night on the high-veld was a long 
sight chillier than anything I had struck so far in 
Europe. But now my teeth were chattering and the 
marrow seemed to be freezing in my bones. The day 
had started bright and clear, but a wrack of grey 
clouds soon covered the sky, and a wind from the 
east began to whistle. As I stumbled along through 
the snowy undergrowth I kept longing for bright 
warm places. I thought of those long days in the veld 
when the earth was like a great yellow bowl with 
white roads running to the horizon and a tiny white 
farm basking in the heart of it, with its blue dam 
and patches of bright green lucerne. I thought of 
those baking days on the east coast when the sea was 
like mother-of-pearl and the sky one burning turquoise. 
But most of all I thought of warm scented noons on 
trek, when one dozed in the shadow of the wagon 
and sniffed the wood-smoke from the fire where the 
boys were cooking dinner. 

From these pleasant pictures I returned to the 
beastly present — ^the thick snowy woods,* the lowering 
sky, wet clothes, a hunted present, and a dismal fu- 
ture. I felt miserably depressed, and I couldn't think 
of any mercies to count. It struck me that I might 
be falling sick. 

About midday I awoke with a start to the belief 
that I was being pursued. I cannot explain how or 
why the feeling came, except that it is a kind of instinct 
that men get who have lived much in wild countries. 
My senses, which had been numbed, suddenly grew 
keen, and my brain began to work double quick. 

I asked myself what I would do if I were Stumm, 



with hatred in my heart, a broken jaw to avenge, and 
pretty well limitless powers. He must have found the 
car in the sandpit and seen my tracks in the wood op- 
posite. I didn't know how good he and his men might 
be at following a spoor, but I knew that any ordinary 
Kaffir could have nosed it out easily. But he didn't 
need to do that. This was a civilised country full 
of roads and railways. I must some time and some- 
where come out of the woods. He could have all 
the roads watched, and the telephone would set every 
one on my track within a radius of fifty miles. Be- 
sides, he would soon pick up my trail in the village 
I had visited that morning. From the map I learned 
that it was called Greif, and it was likely to live up 
to that name with me. 

Presently I came to a rocky knoll which rose out 
of the forest. Keeping well in shelter I climbed to 
the top and cautiously looked around me. Away to 
the east I saw the vale of a river with broad fields 
and church-spires. Wjst and south the forest rolled 
unbroken in a wilderness of snowy tree-tops. There 
was no sign of life anywhere, not even a bird, but I 
knew very well that behind me in the woods were men 
moving swiftly on my track, and that it was pretty 
well impossible for me to get away. 

There was nothing for it but to go on till I dropped 
or was taken. I shaped my course south with a shade 
of west m \tj for the map showed me that in that 
direction I would soonest strike the Danube. What 
I was going to do when I got there I didn't trouble 
to think. I had fixed the river as my immediate goal 
and the future must take care of itself. 

I was now pretty certain that I had fever on me. 
It was still in my bones, as a legacy from Africa, and 



had come out once or twice when I was with the 
battalion in Hampshire. The bouts had been short, 
for I had known of their coming and dosed myself. 
But now I had no quinine, and it looked as if I were 
in for a heavy go. It made me feel desperately 
wretched and stupid, and I all but blundered into 

For suddenly I came on a road and was going to 
cross it blindly, when a man rode slowly past on a 
bicycle. Luckily I was in the shade of a clump of 
hollies and he was not looking my way, though he 
was not three yards off. I crawled forward to recon- 
noitre. I saw about half a mile of road pinning 
straight through the forest and every two hundred 
yards was a bicyclist. They wore uniform and ap- 
peared to be acting as sentries. 

This could only have one meaning. Stumm had 
picketed all the roads and cut me off in an angle of 
the woods. There was no chance of getting across 
unobserved. As I lay there with my heart sinking, I 
had the horrjble feeling that the pursuit might be 
following me from behind, and that at any moment I 
would be enclosed between two fires. 

For more than an hour I stayed there with my chin 
in the snow. I didn't see any way out, and I was feel- 
ing so ill that I didn't seem to care. Then my chance 
came suddenly out of the skies. 

The wind rose, and a great gust of snow blew from 
the east. In five minutes it was so thick that I couldn't 
see across the road. At first I thought it a new 
addition to my troubles, and then very slowly I saw 
the opportuni^. I slipped down the bank and made 
ready to cross. 

I almost blundered into one of the bicyclists. He 



cried out and fell off his machine, but I didn't wait 
to investigate. A sudden access of strength came to 
me and I darted into the woods on the farther side. 
I knew I would be soon swallowed from sight in the 
drift, and I knew that the falling snow would hide my 
tracks. So I put my best foot forward. 

I must have run miles before the hot fit passed, and 

I stopped from sheer bodily weakness. There was no 

sound except the crunch of falling snow, the wind 

seemed to have gone, and the place was very solemn 

and quiet. But HeavensI how the snow fell! It was 

partly screened by the branches, but all the same it 

was piling itself up deep everywhere. My legs seemed 

. _ made of lead, my head burned, and there were fiery 

f pains over all my body. I stumbled on blindly, with- 

I J out a notion of any direction, determined only to keep 

!• going to the last. For I knew that if I once lay down 

1 would never rise again. 

When I was a boy I was fond of fairy tales, and 
most of the stories I remembered had been about 
great German forests and snow and charcoal burners 
and woodmen's huts. Once I had longed to see these 
things; and now I was fairly tn the thick of them. 
There had been wolves too, and I wondered idly if I 
should fall in with a pack. I felt myself getting light- 
headed. I fell repeatedly and laughed sillily every 
time. Once I dropped into a hole and lay for some 
time at the bottom giggling. If any one had found 
me then he would have taken me for a madman. 

The twilight of the forest grew dimmer, but I 
scarcely noticed it. Evening was falling, and soon It 
would be night, a night without morning for me. My 
body was going on without the direction of my brain, 
for my mind was filled with craziness. I was like a 
1 20 



drunk man who keeps running, for he knows that if 
he stops he will fall, and I had a sort of bet with my- 
self not to lie down — not at any rate just yet. If I 
lay down I should feel the pain in my head worse. 
Once I had ridden for five days down country with 
fever on me and the flat bush trees had seemed to melt 
into one big mirage and dance quadrilles before my 
eyes. But then I had more or less kept my wits. Now 
I was fairly daft, and every minute growing dafter. 

Then the trees seemed to stop and I was walking 
on flat ground. It was a clearing, and before me 
twinkled a little light. The change restored me to 
consciousness, and suddenly I felt with horrid in- 
tensity the fire in my head and bones and the weakness 
of my limbs. I longed to sleep, and I had a notion 
that a place to sleep was before me. I moved to- 
wards the light and presently saw through a screen of 
snow the outline of a cottage. 

I had no fear, only an intolerable longing to lie 
down. Very slowly I made my way to the door and 
knocked. My weakness was so great that I could 
hardly lift my hand for the purpose. 

There were voices within, and a comer of the cur- 
tain was lifted from the window. Then the door 
opened and a woman stood before me, a woman with 
a thin, kindly face. 

"Griiss Gott," she said, while children peeped from 
behind her skirts* 

"Griiss Gott," I replied. I leaned against the door- 
post, and speech forsook me. 

She saw my condition. "Come in, sir," she said. 
"You are sick and it is no weather for a sick man." 

I stumbled after her and stood dripping in the cen- 
tre of the little kitchen, while three wondering children 



stared at me. It was a poor place, scantily furnished, 
but a good iog"fire burned on the hearth/ The shock 
of wamith gave me one of those minutes of self- 
possession which come sometimes in the middle of a 

^*I am sick, modier, and I have walked far in the 
storm and lost my way. I am from Africa, where the 
climate is hot, and your cold brings me fever. It will 
pass in a day or two if you can ^ve me a bed." 

"You are welcome,** she said; "but first I will make 
you coffee.'* 

I took off my dripping cloak, and crouched close to 
the hearth. She gave me coffee — ^poor washy stuff, 
but blessedly hot. Poverty was spelled large in 
everything I saw. I felt the tides of fever beginning 
to overflow my brain again, and I made a great 
attempt to set my affairs straight before I was over- 
taken. With difficulty I took out Stumm's pass from 
my pocket-book. 

"That is my warrant,** I said. "I am a member 
of the Imperial Secret Service and for the sake of my 
work I must move in the dark. If you will permit 
it, mother, I will sleep till I am better, but no one 
must know that I am here. If any one comes, you 
must deny my presence.*' 

She looked at the big seal as if it were a talisman. 

"Yes, yes,'* she said, "you will have the bed in the 
garret and be left in peace till you are well. We have 
no neighbors near, and the storm will shut the roads. 
I will be silent, I and the little ones.'* 

My head was beginning to swim, but I made one 
more effort. 

"There is food in my rucksack — ^biscuits and ham 
and chocolate. Pray take it for your use. And here 



is some money to buy Christmas fare for the little 
ones." And I gave her some of the German notes. 

After that my recollection became dim. She helped 
me up a ladder to the garret, undressed me, and gave 
me a thick coarse nightgowi^. I seem to remember 
that she kissed my hand, and that she was crying. 
"The good Lord has sent you," she said. "Now the 
little ones will have their prayers answered and the 
Christkmd will not pass by our door." 





1LAY for four days like a log in that garret bed. 
The storm died down, the thaw set in, and the snow 
melted. The children played about the doors and told 
stories at night round the fire. Stumm's myrmidons no 
doubt beset every road and troubled the lives of inno- 
cent wayfarers. But no one came near the cottage, 
and the fever worked itself out while I lay in peace. 

It was a bad bout, but on the fifth day it left me, 
and I lay, as weak as a kitten, staring at the raftersi 
and the little skylight. It was a leaky, draughty old 
place, but the woman of the cottage had heaped deer- 
skins and blankets on my bed and kept me warm. She 
came in now and then, and once she brought me a 
brew of some bitter herbs which greatly refreshed me. 
A little thin porridge was all the food I could eat, 
and some chocolate made from the slabs in my ruck- 

I lay and dozed through the day, hearing the faint 
chatter of children below, and getting stronger hourly. 
Malaria passes as quickly as it comes and leaves a 
man little the worse, though this was one of the sharp- 
est turns I ever had. As I lay I thought, and my 
thoughts followed curious lines. One queer thing was 
that Stumm and his doings seemed to have been shot 
back into a lumber-room of my brain and the door 



locked. He didn't seem to be ^ creature of the living 
present, but a distant memory on which I could look 
calmly. I thought a good deal about my battalion 
and the comedy of my present position. You see I 
was getting better, for I called it comedy now, not 

But chiefly I thought of my mission. All that wild 
day in the snow it had seemed the merest farce. The 
three words Harry Bullivant had scribbled had danced 
through my head in a crazy fandango. They were 
present to me now, but coolly and sanely in all their 

I remember that I took each one separately and 
chewed on it for hours. Kasredin — the^-e was nothing 
to be got out of that. Cancer — there were too many 
meanings, all blind, v. I — ^that was the worst gib- 
berish of all. 

Before this I had always taken the I as the letter 
of the alphabet. I had thought the v. must stand for 
vofif and I had considered the German names begin- 
ning with I — Ingolstadt, Ingeburg, Ingenohl, and all 
the rest of them. I had made a list of about seventy 
at the British Museum before I left London. 

Now I suddenly found myself taking the I as the 
numeral One. Idly, not thinking what I was doing, I 
put it into German. 

Then I nearly fell out of the bed. Von Einem — 
the name I had heard at Gaudian's house, the name 
Stumm had spoken behind his hand, the name to 
which Hilda was probably the prefix. It was a tre- 
mendous discovery — ^the first real bit of light I had 
found. Harry Bullivant knew that some man or 
woman called von Einem was at the heart of the mys- 
tery. Stumm had spoken of the same personage with 



respect and in connection with the work I proposed 
to do in raising the Moslem Africans. If I found 
von Einera I would be getting very warm. What was 
the word that Stumm had whispered to Gaudian and 
scared that worthy? It had sounded like VnmantL 
If I could only get that clear, I would solve the riddle. 

I think that discovery completed my cure. At any 
rate on the evening of the fifth day — it was Wednes- 
day, the 29th of December — ^I was well enough to get 
up. When the dark had fallen arid it was too late 
to fear a visitor, I came downstairs and, wrapped in 
my green cape, took a seat by the iire. 

As we sat there in the fireli^t, with the three white- 
headed children staring at me with saucer eyes, and 
smiling when I looked their way, the woman talked. 
Her man had gone to the wars on the Eastern front, 
and the last she had heard from him he was in a 
Polish bog and longing for his dry native woodlands. 
The struggle meant little to her. It was an act of 
God, a thunderbolt out of the sky, which had taken a 
husband from her, and might soon make her a widow 
and her children fatherless. She knew nothing of its 
causes and purposes, and thought of the Russians as 
a gigantic nation of savages, heathens who had never 
been converted, and who would eat up German 
homes if the good Lord and the brave German soldiers 
did not stop them. I tried hard to find out if she 
had any notion of affairs in the West, but she hadn't, 
beyond the fact that there was trouble with the French. 
I doubt if »he knew of England's share in it. She 
was a decent soul, with no bitterness against anybody, 
not even the Russians if they would spare her man. 

That night I realised the crazy folly of war. When 
I saw the splintered shell of Ypres and heard hideous 



tales of German doings, I used to want to sec the 
whole land of the Bodies given up to fire and sword. 
I thought we could never end the war properly with- 
out giving the Huns some of their own medicine. But 
that woodcutter's cottage cured me of such nightmares. 
I was for punishing the guilty but letting the inno- 
cent go free. It was our business to thank God and 
keep our hands clean from the ugly blunders to which 
Germany's madness had driven her. What good would 
it do Christian folk to burn poor little huts like this 
and leave children's bodies by the wayside? To be 
able to laugh and to be merciful are the only things 
that make man better than the beasts. 

The place, as I have said, was desperately poor. 
The woman's face had the skin stretched tight over 
the bones, and that transparency which means under- 
feeding; I fancied she did not have the liberal allow- 
ance that soldiers' wives get in England. The chil- 
dren looked better nourished, but it was by their 
mother's sacrifice. I did my best to cheer them up. 
I told them long yarns about Africa and lions and 
tigers, and I got some pieces of wood and whittled 
them into toys. I am fairly good with a knife, and 
I carved very presentable likenesses of a monkey, a 
springbok, and a rhinoceros. The children went to 
bed hugging the first toys, I expect, they ever pos- 

It was pretty clear to me that I must leave as soon 
as possible. I had to get on with my business, and 
besides, it was not fair to the woman. Any moment 
I might be found here, and she would get into trouble 
for harbouring me. I asked her if she knew where 
the Danube was, and her answer surprised me. "You 



will reach it in an hour's walk," she said. "The track 
through the wood runs straight to the ferry." 

Next morning after breakfast I took my departure. 
It was drizzling weather, and I was feeling very lean. 
Before going I presented my hostess and the children 
with two sovereigns apiece. "It is English gold," I 
said, **for I have to travel among our enemies and use 
our enemies' money. But the gold is good, and if you 
go to any town they wilt change it for you. But I 
advise you to put it in your stocking-foot and use it 
only if all else fails. You must keep your home go- 
ing, for some day there will be peace, and your man 
will come back from the wars." 

I kissed the children, shook the woman's hand, and 
went oflF down the clearing. They had cried "Auf 
wiedersehen," but it wasn't likely I would ever see 
them again. 

The snow had all gone, except in patches in the 
deep hollows. The ground was like a full sponge, and 
a cold rain drifted in my eyes. After half an hour's 
steady trudge, the trees thinned ajid presently I came 
out on a knuckle of open ground cloaked in dwarf 
junipers. And there before me lay the plain, and 
a mile off a broad brimming river. 

I sat down and looked dismally at the prospect. 
The exhilaration of my discovery the day before had 
gone. I had stumbled on a worthless piece of knowl- 
edge, for I could not use it. Hilda von Einem, if such 
a person existed and possessed the great secret, was 
probably living in some big house in Berlin, and I was 
about as likely to get anything out of her as to be 
asked to dine with the Kaiser. Blenkiron might do 
something, but where on earth was Blenkiron? I dared 
say Sir Walter would value the information, but 



I could not get to Sir Walter. I was to go on to 
Constantinople, running away from the people who 
really pulled the ropes. But if I stayed I could do 
nothing, and I could not stay. I must go on and I 
didn't see how I could go on. Every course seemed 
shut to me, and I was in as pretty a tangle as any 
man ever stumbled into. 

For I was morally certain that Stumm would not 
let the thing drop. I knew too much, and besides 
I had outraged his pride. He would beat the coun- 
tryside till he got me, and he undoubtedly would get 
me if I waited much longer. But how was I to get 
over the border? My passport would be no good, 
for the number of that pass would long ere this have 
been wired to every police-station in Germany, and 
to produce it would be to ask for trouble. Without 
it I could not cross the borders by any railway. My 
studies of the Tourists' Guide had suggested that once 
I was in Austria I might find things slacker and move 
about easier. I thought of having a try at the Tyrol 
and I also thought of Bohemia. But these places 
were a long way off, and there were several thousand 
chances each day that I would be caught on the road. 

This was Thursday, the 30th of December, the sec- 
ond last day of the year. I was due in Constantinople 
on the 17th of January. Constantinople I I had 
thought myself a long way from it in Berlin, but now 
it seemed as distant as the moon. 

But that big sullen river in front of me led to it. 
And as I looked my attention was caught by a curious 
sight On the far eastern horizon, where the water 
slipped round a comer of hill, there was a long trail 
of smoke. The streamers thinned out, and seemed 
to come from some boat well round the comer, but 



I could see at least two boats in view. Therefore there 
must be a long train of barges, with a tug in tow. 

I looked to the west and saw another such pro- 
cession coming into sight. First went a big river 
steamer— it can't have been much less than i ,000 tons 
— and after came a string of barges. I coimted no 
less than six besides the tug. They were heavily 
loaded and their draught must have been consider- 
able, but there was plenty of depth in the flooded 

A moment's reflection told me what I was looking 
at. Once Sandy, in one of the discussions you have 
in hospital, had told us just how the Germans muni- 
tioned their Balkan campaign. They were pretty cer- 
tain of dishing Serbia at the first go, and it was up 
to them to get through guns and shells to the old 
Turk, who was running pretty short in his first supply. 
Sandy said that they wanted the railway, but they 
wanted still more the river, and they could make cer- 
tain of that in a week. He told us how endless strings 
of barges, loaded up at the big factories of West- 
phalia, were moving through the canals from the 
Rhine or the Elbe to the Danube. Once the first 
reached Turkey, there would be regular delivery, you 
see — as quick as the Turks could handle the stuff. 
And they didn't return empty, Sandy said, but came 
back full of Turkish cotton, and Bulgarian beef, and 
Rumanian com. I don't know where Sandy got the 
knowledge, but there was the proof of it before my 

It was a wonderful sight, and I could have gnashed 
my teeth to see those loads of munitions going snugly 
off to the enemy. I calculated they would give our 
poor chaps hell in Gallipoli. And then, as I looked, 



an idea came Into my head, and with it an eighth 
part of a hope. 

There was only one way for me to get out of Ger- 
many, and that was to leave in such good company 
that I would be asked no questions. That was plain 
enough. If I travelled to Turkey, for instance, in 
the Kaiser's suite, I would be as safe as the mail ; but 
if I went on my own I was done. I had, so to speak, 
to get my passport inside Germany, to join some cara- 
van which had free marching powers. And there was 
the kind of caravan before me — ^the Essen barges. 

It sounded lunacy, for I guessed that munitions of 
war would be as jealously guarded as von Hinden- 
burg's health. All the safer, I replied to myself, once 
I got there. If you are looking for a deserter you 
don't seek him at the favourite regimental public- 
house. If you're after a thief, among the places you'd 
be apt to leave unsearched would be Scotland Yard. 

It was sound reasoning, but how was I to get on 
board? Probably the beastly things did not stop once 
in a hundred miles, and Stumm would get me long 
before I struck a halting-place. And even if I did 
get a chance like that, how was I to get permission 
to travel? 

One step was clearly indicated — to get down to the 
river bank at once. So I set off at a sharp walk across 
squelchy fields, till I struck a road where the ditches 
had overflowed so as almost to meet in the middle. 
The place was so bad that I hoped travellers might 
be few. And as I trudged, my thoughts were busy 
with my opportunities as a stowaway. If I bought 
food, I might get a chance to lie snug on one of the 
barges. They would not break bulk till they got to 
tiieir journey's end. 



Suddenly I noticed that the steamer, which was now 
abreast me, began to move towards the shore, and 
as I came over a low rise I saw on my left a strag- 
gling village with a church, and a small landing-stage. 
The houses stood about a quarter of a mile from the 
stream, and between them was a straight, poplar- 
fringed road. 

Soon there could be no doubt about it The pro- 
cession was coming to a standstill. The big tug nosed 
her way in and lay up alongside the pier, where in 
that season of flood there was enough depth of wa- 
ter. She signalled to the barges and they also started 
to drop anchors, which showed that there must be 
at least two men aboard each. Some of them dragged 
a bit and it was rather a cock-eyed train that lay 
in mid-stream. The tug got out a gangway, and from 
where I lay I saw half a dozen men leave it, carry- 
ing something on their shoulders. 

It could be only one thing — a dead body. Some 
one of the crew must have died, and this halt was to 
bury him. I watched the procession move towards 
the village and I reckoned they would take some time 
there, though they might have wired ahead for a 
grave to be dug. Anyhow, they would be long enough 
to give me a chance. 

For I had decided upon the brazen course. Blen- 
kiron had said you couldn't cheat the Boche, but you 
could bluff him. I was going to put up the most 
monstrous bluff. If the whole countryside was hunt- 
ing for Richard Hannay, Richard Hannay would walk 
through as a pal of the hunters. For I remembered 
the pass Stumm had given me. If that was worth a 
tinker's curse it should be good enough to impress a 
ship's captain. 



Of course there were a thousand risks. They 
might have heard of me in the village and told the 
ship's party the story. For that reason I resolved 
not to go there but to meet the sailors when they 
were returning to the boat. Or the captain might 
have been warned and got the number of my pass, 
in which case Stumm would have his hands on me 
pretty soon. Or the captain might be an ignorant 
fellow who had never seen a Secret Service pass and 
did not know what it meant, and would refuse me 
transport by the letter of his instructions. In that 
case I might wait on another convoy. 

I had shaved and made myself a fairly respectable 
figure before I left the cottage. It was my cue to 
wait for the men when they left the church, wait 
on that quarter-mile of straight highway. I judged 
the captain must be in the party. The village, I was 
glad to observe, seemed very empty. Ihave my own 
notions about the Bavarians as fighting men, but I 
am bound to say that, judging by my observations, 
very few of them stayed at home. 

That funeral took hours. They must have had to 
dig the grave, for I waited near the road in a clump 
of cherry-trees, with my feet in two inches of mud 
and water, till I felt chilled to the bone. I prayed 
to God it would not bring back my fever, for I was 
only one day out of bed. I had very little tobacco 
left in my pouch, but I stood myself one pipe, and I 
ate one of the three cakes of chocolate I still carried. 

At last, well after midday, I could see the ship's 
party returning. They marched two by two, and I 
was thankful that they had no villagers with them. 
I walked to the road, turned it, and met the vanguard, 
carrying my head as high as I knew how. 



"Where's your captain?" I asked, and a man jerked 
his thumb over his shoulder. The others wore thick 
jerseys and knitted caps, but diere was one man at 
the rear in uniform. 

He was a short, broad man with a weather-beaten 
face and an anxious eye. 

"May I have a word with you, Herr Captain?" I 
said, with what I hoped was a judicious blend of au- 
thority and conciliation. 

He nodded to his companion, who walked on. 

"Yes?" he asked rather impatiently. 

I proffered him my pass. Thank Heaven he had 
seen the kind of thing before, for his face at once 
took on that curious look which one person in author- 
ity always wears when he is confronted with another. 
He studied it closely and then raised his eyes. 

"Well, sir?" he said. "I observe your credentials. 
What can I do for you?" 

"I take it you are bound for Constantinople?" I 

"The boats go as far as Rustchuk," he replied. 
"There the stuff is transferred to the railway." 

"And you reach Rustchuk when?" 

"In ten days, bar accidents. Let us say twelve 
to be safe." 

"I want to accompany you," I said. "In my pro- 
fession, Herr Captain, it is necessary sometimes to 
make journeys by other than the common route. That 
is now my desire. I have the right to call upon some 
other branch of our country's service to help me. 
Hence my request" 

Very plainly he did not like it. 

"I must telegraph about it. My instructions are 
to let no one aboard, not even a man like you. I 



am sorry, sir, but I must get authority first before 
I can fall in with your desire. Besides, my boat is 
ill-found. You had better wait for the next batch and 
ask Dreyser to take you. I lost Walter to-day. He 
was ill when he came aboard — a disease of the heart 
— but he would not be persuaded. And last night he 

"Was that he you have been burying?" I asked. 

"Even so. He was a good man and my wife's 
cousin, and now I have no engineer. Only a fool of 
a boy from Hamburg. I have just come from wiring 
to my owners for a fresh man, but even if he comes 
by the quickest train he will scarcely overtake us be- 
fore Vienna or even Buda." 

I saw light at last. 

"We will go together," I said, "and cancel that 
wire. For behold, Herr Captain, I am an engineer, 
and will gladly keep an eye on your boilers till we 
get to Rustchuk." 

He looked at me doubtfuUy. 

"I am speaking truth," I said. "Before the war 
I was an engineer in Damaraland. Mining was my 
branch, but I had a good general training, and I know 
enough to run a river-boat. Have no fear. I promise 
you I will earn my passage." 

His face cleared, and he looked what he was, an 
honest, good-humoured North German seaman. 

"Come then in God's name," he cried, "and we 
will make a bargain. I will let the telegraph sleep. 
I want authority from the Government to take a pas- 
senger, but I need none to engage a new engineer." 

He sent one of the hands back to the village to 
cancel his wire. In ten minutes I found myself on 
board, and ten minutes later we were out in mid- 


stream and our tows were lumbering Into line. CoSee 
was being made ready in the cabin, and while I waited 
for it I picked up the captain's binoculars and scanned 
the place I had left. 

I saw some curious things. On the first road I had 
struck on leaving the cottage there were men on bicy- 
cles moving rapidly. They seemed to wear uniform. 
On the next parallel road, the one that ran through 
the village, I could see others. I noticed, too, that 
several figures appeared to be beating the intervening 

Stunun's cordon had got busy at last, and I thanked 
my stars that not one of the villagers had seen me. 
I had not got away much too soon, for in another 
half -hour he would have had me. 





BEFORE I turned in that evening I had done some 
good hours' work in the engine-room. The boat 
was oil-fired, and in very fair order, so my duties did 
not look as if they would be heavy. There was no- 
body who could be properly called an enpneer; only, 
besides the fumacenmen, a couple of lads from Ham- 
burg who had been a year ago apprentices in a ship- 
building yard. They were civil fellows, both of them 
consumptive, who did what I told them and said little. 
By bed-time, if you had seen me in my blue jumpers, 
a pair of carpet slippers, and a flat cap — all the prop- 
erty of the deceased Walter — ^you would have sworn 
I had been bred to the firing of river-boats, whereas 
I had acquired most of my knowledge on one run 
down the Zambesi, when the proper en^neer got 
drunk and fell overboard among the crocodiles. 

The captain — they called him Schenk — ^was out of 
his bearings in the job. He was a Frisian and a first- 
class deep-water seaman, but, since he knew the Rhine 
delta, and because the German mercantile marine was 
laid on the ice till the end of war, they had turned 
him on to this show. He was bored by the business, 
you could see, and didn't understand it very well. The 
river charts puzzled him, and though it was pretty 
plain going for hundreds of miles, yet he was in 



a perpetual fidget about the pilotage. You could see 
that he would have been far more in his element smell- 
ing his way through the shoals of the Ems mouth, or 
beating against a north-easter in the shallow Baltic. 
He had six barges in tow, but the heavy flood of the 
Danube made it an easy job except when it came to, 
going slow. There were two men on each barge, who\ 
came aboard every morning to draw rations. That 
was a funny business, for we never lay to if we could 
help it. There was a cKnghy belonging to each barge, 
and the men used to row to the next and get a lift in 
that barge's dinghy, and so forth. Six men would 
appear in the dinghy of the barge nearest us and carry 
oflF supplies for the rest. The men were mostly 
Frisians, slow-spoken, sandy-haired lads, very like the 
breed you strike on the Essex coast. 

It was the fact that Schenk was really a deep-water 
sailor, and so a novice to the job, that made me get 
on with him. He was a good fellow and quite will- 
ing to take a hint, so before I had been twenty-four 
hours on board he was teUing me all his difEculties, 
and I was doing my best to cheer him. And difficulties 
came thick, because the next night was New Year's 

I knew that that night was a season of gaiety in 
Scotland, but Scotland wasn't in it vnth the Father- j 
land. Even Schenk, though he was in charge of valu- ' 
able stores and was voyaging ags^inst time, was quite 
clear that the men must have permission for some 
kind of beano. Just before darkness we came abreast 
a fair-sized town, whose name I never discovered, 
and decided to lie to for the night. The arrange- 
ment was that one man should be left on guard in 
each barge, and the other get four hours' leave ashore. 



Then he would return and relieve his friend, who 
should proceed to do the same thing. I foresaw 
that there would be some fun when the first batch 
returned, but I did not dare to protest. I was des- 
perately anxious to get past the Austrian frontier, for 
I had a half-notion we might be searched there, but 
Schenk took this Sylvesterabend business so seriously 
that I would have risked a row if I had tried to argue. 

The upshot was what I expected. We got the first 
batch aboard about midnight, blind to the world, and 
the others straggled in at all hours next morning. I 
stuck to the boat for obvious reasons, but next day it 
became too serious, and I had to go ashore with the 
captain to try and round up the stragglers. We got 
them all in but two, and I am inclined to think these 
two had never meant to come back. If I had a soft 
job like a river-boat I shouldn't be inclined to run 
away in the middle of Germany with the certainty that 
my best fate would be to be scooped up for the 
trenches, but your Frisian has no more imagination 
than a haddock. The absentees were both watchmen 
from the barges, and I fancy the monotony of the 
life had got on their nerves. 

The captain was in a raging temper, for he was 
short-handed to begin with. He would have started 
a press-gang, but there was no superfluity of men in 
that township : nothing but boys and grandfathers. As 
I was helping to run the trip I was pretty annoyed 
also, and I sluiced down the drunkards with icy Dan- 
ube water, using all the worst language I knew in 
Dutch and German. It was a raw morning, and as 
we raged through the river-«ide streets I remember I 
heard the dry crackle of wild geese going overhead, 
and wished I could get a shot at them. I told one 



fellow — he was the most troublesome — ^that he was a 
disgrace to a great Empire, and was only fit to fight 
with the filthy English. 

"God in Heaven I" said the captain, "we can delay 
no longer. We must make shift the best we can. I 
can spare one man from the deck hands, and you must 
pve up one from the engine-room." 

That was arranged, and we were tearing back rather 
short in the wind when I espied a figure sitting on a 
bench beside the booking-office on the pier. It was 
a slim figure, in an old suit of khaki; some cast-off 
duds which had long lost the semblance of a uniform. 
It had a gentle face, and was smoking peacefully, 
looking out upon the river and the boats and us noisy 
fellows with meek philosophical eyes. If I had seen 
General French sitting there and looking like nothing 
on earth I couldn't have been more surprised. 

The man stared at me without recognition. He was 
waiting for his cue. 

I spoke rapidly in Sesutu, for I was afraid the cap- 
tain might know Dutch. % 

"Where have you come from?" I asked. 

"They shut me up in tronk/^ said Peter, "and I 
ran away. I am tired, Comelis, and want to con* 
tinue the journey by boat." 

"Remember you have worked for me in Africa," I 
said. "You are just home from Damaraland. You 
are a German who has lived thirty years away from 
home. You can tend a furnace and have worked in 


Then I spoke to the captain : 

"Here is a fellow who used to be in my employ, 
Captain Schenk. It*s almighty luck weVe struck him. 
He*s old, and not very strong in the head, but FU 



go bail he's a good worker. He says he'll come with 
us and I can use him in the en^ne-room." 

^^Stand up," said the captain. 

Peter stood up, light and slim and wiry as a leopard. 
A sailor does not judge men by girth and weight. 

''He'll do," said Schenk, and the next minute he 
was readjusting his crews and giving the strayed revel- 
lers the rough side of his tongue. As it chanced, I 
couldn't keep Peter with me, but had to send him to 
one of the barges, and I had die chance of no more 
than five words with him, when I told him to hold his 
tongue and live up to4iis reputation as a half-^t. 
That accursed Sylvesterahend had played havoc with 
the whole outfit, and the captain and I were weary 
men before we got things straight. 

In one way it turned out well. That afternoon we 
passed the frontier and I never knew it till I saw a 
man in a strange uniform come aboard, who copied 
some figures on a schedule, and brought us a mail. 
With my dirt/ face and general air of absorption in 
duty, I must have been an unsuspicious figure. He 
took down the names of the men in the barges, and 
Peter's name was given as it appeared on the ship's 
roll — ^Anton Blum. 

"You must feel it strange, Herr Brandt," said the 
captain, "to be scrutinised by a policeman, you who 
give orders, I doubt not, to many policemen." 

I shrugged my shoulders. "It is my profession. 
It is my business to go unrecognised often by my own 
servants." I could see that I was becoming rather a 
figure in the captain's eyes. He liked the way I kept 
the men up to their work, for I hadn't been a nigger- 
driver for nothing. 

Late on that Sunday night we passed through a 



great city which the captain told me was Vienna. It 
seemed to last for miles and miles, and to be as 
brightly lit as a circus. After that, we were in big 
plains • and , the air grew perishing cold. Peter had 
come aboard once for his rations, but usually he left 
it to his partner, for he was lying very low. But one 
morning — ^I think it was the 5th of January, when we 
had passed Buda and were moving through great 
sodden flats just sprinkled with snow — ^the captain took 
it into his head to get me to overhaul the barge loads. 
Armed with a mighty type*written list, I made a tour 
of the barges, beginning with the hindmost. There 
was a fine old stock of deadly weapons — ^mostly ma- 
chine-guns and some field-pieces, and enough shells to 
blow up the Gallipoli peninsula. All kinds of shell 
were there, from the big 14-inch crumps to rifle 
grenades and trench-mortars. It made me fairly sick 
to see all these good things preparing for our own 
fellows, and I wondered whedier I would not be do- 
ing my best service if I en^neered a big explosion. 
Happily I had the conunon sense to remember my job, 
and my duty to stick to it. 

Peter was in the middle of the convoy, and I found 
him pretty unhappy, principally through not being 
allowed to smoke. His companion was an ox-eyed lad, 
whom I ordered to the look-out while Peter and I went 
over the lists, 

"Comelis, my old friend," he said, "there are some 
pretty toys here. With a spanner and a couple of clear 
hours I could make these maxims about as deadly 
as bicycles. What do you say to a try?" 
. "I've considered that," I said, "but it won't do. 
We're on a bigger business than wrecking munition 
convoys. I want to know how you got here." 



He smiled with that extraordinary Sunday-school 
docility of his. 

**It was very simple, Cornelis. I was foolish in the 
cafe — ^but they have told you of that. You see I was 
angry, and did not reflect. They had separated us, 
and I could see would treat me as dirt. Therefore 
my bad temper came out, for, as I have told you, I 
do not like Germans." 

Peter gazed lovingly at the little bleak farms whidi 
dotted the Hungarian plain. 

"All night I lay in tronk with no food. In the 
morning they fed me, and took me hundreds of miles 
in a train to a place which I think is called Neuburg. 
It was a great prison, full of English officers. ... I 
a-sked myself many times on the journey what was 
the reason of this treatment, for I could see no sense 
in it. If they wanted to punish me for insulting 
them they had the chance to send me off to the 
trenches. No one could have objected. If they 
thought me useless they could have turned me back 
to Holland. I could not have stopped them. But 
they treated me as if I were a dangerous man, whereas 
all their conduct hitherto had shown that they thought 
me a fool. I could not imderstand it. 

"But I had not been one night in that Neuburg place 
before I found out the reason. They wanted to keep 
me under observation as a check upon you, Cornelis. 
I figured it out this way. They had given you some 
very important work which required them to let you 
into some big secret. So far, good. They evidendy 
thought much of you, even yon Stumm man, though 
he was as rude as a buffalo. But they did not know 
you fully, and they wanted a check on you. That check 
they found in Peter Pienaar. Peter was a fool, and 



if there was anything to blab, sooner or later Peter 
would blab it. Then they would stretch out a long 
arm and nip you short, wherever you were. There- 
fore they must keep old Peter under tljeir eye." 

"That sounds likely enough," I said. 

"It was God's truth," said Peter. "And when it 
was all clear to me I settled that I must escape. Partly 
because I am a free man and do not like to be in 
prison, but mostly because I was not sure of myself. 
Some day my temper would go again, and I might say 
foolish things for which Comelis would suffer. So 
it was very certain that I must escape. 

"Now, Cornelis, I noticed pretty soon that there 
were two kinds among the prisoners. There were the 
real prisoners, mostly English and French, and there 
were humbugs. The humbugs were treated apparently 
like the others, but not really, as I soon perceived. 
There was one man who passed as an English officer, 
one as a French Canadian, and the others called them- 
selves Russians. None of the honest men suspected 
them, but they were there as spies to hatch plots for es- 
cape and get the poor devils caught in the act, and to 
worm out confidences which might be of value. That 
is the German notion of good business. I am not a 
British soldier to think all men are gentlemen. - 1 know 
that amongst men are desperate skellums, so I soon 
picked up this game. It made me very angry, but 
it was a good thing for my plan. I made my resolu- 
tion to escape the day I arrived at Neuburg, and on 
Christmas Day I had a plan made." 

"Peter, you're an old marvel. Do you mean to 
say you were quite certain of getting away whenever 
you wanted?" 

"Quite certain, Comelis. You see, I have been 



wicked in my time and know something about the 
inside of prisons. You may build them like great 
castles, or they may be like a backveld tronk, only 
mud and corrugated iron, but there is always a key 
and a man who keeps it, and that man can be bested. 
I knew I could get away, but I did not think it would 
be so easy. That was due to the bogus prisoners, my 
friends the spies. 

"I made great pals with them. On Christmas night 
we were very jolly together. I think I spotted every 
one of them the first day. I bragged about my past 
and all I had done, and I told them I was going to 
escape. They backed me up and promised to help. 
Next morning I had a plan. In the afternoon, just 
after dinner, I had to go to the commandant's room. 
They treated me a little differently from the others, 
for I was not a prisoner of war, and I went there 
to be asked questions and to be cursed as a stupid 
Dutchman. There was no strict guard kept there, 
for the place was on the second floor, and distant by 
many yards from any staircase. In the corridor out- 
side the commandant's room there was a window 
which had no bars, and four feet from the window 
the limb of a great tree. A man might reach that 
limb, and if he were active as a monkey might descend 
to the ground. Beyond that I knew nothing, but I 
am a good climber, Cornelis. 

**I told the others of my plan. They said it was 
good, but no one offered to come with me. They 
were very noble; they declared that the scheme was 
mine and I should have the fruit of it, for if more 
than one tried detection was certain. I agreed and 
thanked them — thanked them with tears in my eyes. 
Then one of them very secretly produced a map. We 




planned out my road, for I was going straight to 
Holland. It was a long road, and I had no money, 
for they had taken all my sovereigns when I was 
arrested, but they promised to get a subscription up 
among themselves to start me. Again I wept tears 
of gratitude. This was on Sunday, the day after 
Christmas. I settled to make the attempt on the 
Wednesday afternoon." 

**Now, Cornells, when the lieutenant took us to see 
the British prisoners, you remember, he told us many 
things about the ways of prisons. He told us how 
they loved to catch a man in the act of escape, so 
that they could use him harshly with a clear con- 
science. I thought of that, and calculated that now 
my friends would have told everything to the com- 
mandant, and that they would be waiting to bottle me 
on the Wednesday. Till then I reckoned I would be 
slackly guarded, for they would look on me as safe 
in the net. . . . 

"So I went out of the window next day. It was the 
Monday afternoon. . . ." 

"That was a bold stroke," I said admiringly. 

"The plan was bold, but it was not skilful," said 
Peter modestly. "I had no money beyond seven 
marks, and I had but one stick of chocolate. I had 
no overcoat, and it was snowing hard. Further, I 
could not get down the tree, which had a trunk as 
smooth and branchless as a blue gum. For a little 
I thought I should be compelled to give in, and I was 
not happy. 

"But I had leisure, for I did not think I would 
be missed before nightfall, and given time a man can 
do most things. By and by I found a branch which 
led beyond the outer wall of the yard and hung above 



the river. This I followed, atid then dropped from 
it into the stream. It was a drop of some yards, and 
the water was very swift, so that I nearly drowned. 
I would rather swim the Limpopo, Cornelis, among all 
the crocodiles, than that icy river. Yet I managed 
to reach the shore and get my breath lying in the 
bushes. . . . 

"After that it was plain going, though I was very 
cold. I knew that I would be sought on the northern 
roads, as I had told my friends, for no one would 
dream of an ignorant Dutchman going south away 
from his kinsfolk. But I had learned enough from 
the map to know that our road lay south-east, and I 
had marked this big river." 

"Did you hope to pick me up?" I asked. 

"No, Cornelis. I thought you would be travelling 
in first-class carriages while I should be plodding on 
foot. But I was set on getting to the place you spoke 
of (how do you call it? Constant Nople), where our 
big business lay. I thought I might be in time for 
that." ^ 

"You're an old Trojan, Peter," I said; "but go 
on. How did you get to that landing-stage where I 
found you ?" 

"It was a hard journey," he said meditatively. "It 
was not easy to get beyond the barbed wire entangle- 
ments which surrounded Neuburg— yes, even across 
the river. But in time I reached the woods and was 
safe, for I did not think any German could equal me 
in wild country. The best of them, even their for- 
esters, are but babes in veldcraft compared with such 
as me. . • . My troubles came only from hunger and 
cold. Then I met a Peruvian smouse,* and sold him 

* Peter meant a Polish- Jew fellow. 



"^ my clothes and bought from him these. I did not want 
.to part with my own, which were better, but he gave 
me ten marks on the deal. After that I went into a 
village and ate heavily." 

"Were you pursued?" I asked. 

"I do not think so. They had gone north, as I 
expected, and were looking for me at the railway 
stations which my friends hiad marked for me. I 
walked happily and put a bold face on it. If I saw 
a man or woman look at me suspiciously I went up 
to them at once and talked. I told a sad tale, and 
all believed it. I was a poor Dutchman travelling 
home on foot to see a dying mother, ,and I had been 
told that by the Danube I should find the main rail- 
way to take me to Holland. There were kind peo- 
ple who gave me food, and one woman gave me half 
a mark, and wished me God speed. • . . Then on the 
last day of the year I came to the river and found 
many drunkards." 

"Was that when you resolved to get on one of the 
river boats?" 

^'Ja, Cornelis. As soon as I heard of the boats I 
saw where my chance lay. But you might have 
knocked me over with a straw when I saw you come 
on shore. That was good fortune, my friend. . . . 
I have been thinking much about the Germans, and I 
will tell you the truth. It is only boldness that can 
baffle them. They are a most diligent people. They 
will think of all likely difficulties, but not of all pos- 
sible ones. They have not much imagination. They 
are like steam engines which must keep to prepared 
tracks. There they will hunt any man down, but let 
him trek for open country and they will be at a loss. 
Therefore boldness, my friend; for ever boldness. 




Remember as a nation they wiear spectacles, which 
means that they are always peering." 

Peter broke off to gloat over the wedges of geese 
and the strings of wild swans that were always wing- 
ing across those plains. His tale had bucked me up 
wonderfully. Our luck had held beyond all belief, 
and I had a kind of hope in the business now which 
had been wanting before. That afternoon, too, I got 
another fillip. 

I came on deck for a breath of air ahd found it 
pretty cold after the heat of the engine room. So 
I called to one of the deck hands to fetch me up 
my cloak from the cabin — the same I had bought that 
first morning in the Greif village. 

"Der griine MantelT^ the man shouted up, and I 
cried, Yes. But the words seemed to echo in my ears, 
and long after he had given me the garment I stood 
staring abstractedly over the bulwarks. 

His tone had awakened a chord of memory, or, to 
be accurate, they had given emphasis to what before 
had been only blurred and vague. For he had spoken 
the words which Stumm had uttered behind his hand 
to Gaudian. I had heard something like "Uhnmantl" 
and could make nothing of it. Now I was as certain 
of those words as of my own existence. They had 
been "Griine Mantel." Griine Mantel, whatever it 
might be, was the name which Stumm had not meant 
me to hear, which was some talisman for the task I 
had proposed, and which was connected in some way 
with the mysterious von Einem. 

This discovery put me in high fettle. I told my- 
self that, considering the difficulties, I had managed 
to find out a wonderful amount in a very few days. 




It only shows what a man can do with the slenderest 
evidence if he keeps chewing and chewing on it. . . . 

Two mornings later we lay alongside the quays at 
Belgrade, and I took the opportunity of stretching my 
legs. Peter had come ashore for a smoke, and we 
'wandered among the battered riverside streets, and 
looked at the broken arches of the great railway 
bridge which the Germans were working at like 
beavers. There was a big temporary pontoon affair 
to take the railway across, but I calculated that the 
main bridge would be ready inside a month. It was 
a clear, cold, blue day, and as one looked south one* 
saw ridge after ridge of snowy hills. The upper 
streets of the city were still fairly whole, and there 
were shops open where food could be got. I remem- 
ber hearing English spoken, and seeing some Red 
Cross nurses in the custody of Austrian soldiers coming 
from the railway station. 

It would have done me a lot of good to have had 
a word with them. I thought of the gallant people 
whose capital this had been, how three times they 
had flung the Austrians back over the Danube, and 
then had only been beaten by the black treachery of 
their so-called allies. Somehow that morning in Bel- 
grade gave both Peter and me a new purpose in our 
task. It was our business to put a spoke in the wheel 
of this monstrous bloody Juggernaut that was crush- 
ing out the little heroic nations. 

We were just getting ready to cast off when a dis- 
tinguished party arrived at the quay. There were all 
kinds of uniforms — German, Austrian, and Bulgarian, 
and amid them one stout gentleman in a fur coat and 
a black felt hat. They watched the barges up-anchor, 
and, before we began to jerk into line I could hear 



their conversation. The fur coat was talking English. 

"I reckon that's pretty good noos, General," it said; 
"if the English have run away from Gally-poly we 
can use these noo consignments for the bigger game. 
I guess it won't be long before we see the British lion 
moving out of Egypt with sore paws." 

They all laughed. "The privilege of that spectacle 
may soon be ours," was the reply. 

I did not pay much attention to the talk; indeed 
I did not realise till weeks later that that was the 
first tidings of the great evacuation of Cape Helles. 
What rejoiced me was the sight of Blenkiron, as bland 
as a barber among those swells. Here were two of 
the missionaries within reasonable distance of their 




WE reached Rustchuk on January lo, but by no 
means landed on that day. Something had 
gone wrong with the unloading arrangements, or more 
likely with the railway behind them, and we were kept 
swinging all day well out in the turbid riven On the 
top of this Captain Schenk got an ague, and by that 
evening was a blue and shivering wreck. He had 
done me well and I reckoned I would stand by hfei. 
So I got his ship's papers and the manifests of cargo, 
and undertook to see to the transhipment. It wasn't 
the first time I had tackled that kind of business, 
and I hadn't much to learn about steam cranes. I 
told him I was going on to Constantinople and would 
take Peter with me, and he was agreeable. He would 
have to wait at Rustchuk to get his return cargo, and 
could easily inspan a fresh engineer. 

I worked about the hardest twenty-four hours of 
my life getting the stuff ashore. The landing officer 
was a Bulgarian, quite a competent man if he could 
have made the railways give him the trucks he 
needed. There was a collection of hungry German 
transport officers always putting in their oars, and 
being infernally insolent to everybody. I took the 
high and mighty line with them; and as I had the 
Bulgarian commandant^ on my side, after about two 
hours' blasphemy got them quieted. 



But the big trouble came the next morning when 
I had got nearly all the stuff aboard the trucks. 

A young officer in what I took to be a Turkish uni- 
form rode up with an aide-de-camp. I noticed the 
German guards saluting him, so I judged he was rather 
a swell. He came up to me and asked me very civilly 
in German for the way-bills. I gave him them 'and 
he looked carefully through them, marking certain 
items with a blue pencil. Then he coolly handed them 
to his aide-de-camp and spoke to him in Turkish. 

"Look here, I want these back," I said. "I can't 
do without them, and weVe no time to waste." 

"Presently," he said, smiling, and went off. 

I said nothing, reflecting that the stuff was for the 
Turks and they naturally had to have some say in its 
handling. The loading was practically flnished when 
my gentleman returned. He handed me a neatly 
typed new set of way-bills. One glance at them 
showed that some of the big items had been left out. 

"Here, this won't do," I cried. "Give me back the 
right set. This thing's no good to me." 

For answer he winked gently, smiled like a dusky 
seraph, and held out his hand. In it I saw a roll of 

"For yourself," he said. "It is the usual custom." 

It was the first time any one had ever tried to bribe 
me, and it made me boil up like a geyser. I saw 
his game clearly enough. Turkey would pay for the 
lot to Germany; probably had already paid the bill; 
but she would pay double for the things not on the 
way-bills, and pay to this fellow and his friends. This 
struck me as rather steep even for Oriental methods 
of doing business. 

"Now look here, sir," I said, "I don't stir from 



this place till I get the correct way-bills. If you won't 
give me them, I will have every item out of the trucks 
and make a new list. But a correct list I have, or 
the stuff stays here till Doomsday." 

He was a slim, foppish fellow, and he looked more 
puzzled than angry. 

"I offer you enough," he said, again stretching out 
his hand. 

At that I fairly roared. "If you try to bribe me, 
you damned little haberdasher, I'll have you off that 
horse and chuck you in the river." 

He no longer misunderstood me. He began to curse 
and threaten, but I cut him short. 

*'Come along to the commandant, my boy," I said, 
and I marched away, tearing up his typewritten sheets 
as I went and strewing them behind me like a paper* 

We had a fine old racket in the commandant's of- 
fice. I said it was my business, as representing the 
German Government, to see the stuff delivered to the 
consignee at Constantinople ship-shape and Bristol- 
fashion. I told him it wasn't my habit to proceed with 
cooked documents. He' couldn't but agree with me, 
but there was that wrathful Oriental with his face as 
fixed as a Buddha. 

"I am sorry, Rasta Bey," he said; "but this man 
is in the right." 

"I have authority from the Committee to receive 
the stores," he said sullenly. 

"Those are not my instructions," was the answer, 
"They are consigned to the Artillery commandant at 
Chataldja, General von Oesterzee." 

The man shrugged his shoulders. "Very well. I 
will have a word to say to General von Oesterzee, and 



many to this fellow who flouts the Committee." And 
he strode away like an impudent boy. 

The harassed commandant grinned. "You've of- 
fended his lordship, and he is a bad enemy. All those 
damned Comitajis are. You would be well advised 
not to go on to Constantinople." 

"And have that blighter in the red hat loot the 
trucks on the road. No, thank you. I am going to 
see them safe at Chataldja, or whatever they call the 
artillery depot." 

I said a good deal more, but that is an abbreviated 
translation of my remarks. My word for "blighter" 
was trottel, but I used some other expressions which 
would have ravished my young Turkish friend to 
hear. Looking back, it seems pretty ridiculous to have 
made all this fuss about guns which were going to be 
used against my own people. But I didn't see that 
at the time. My professional pride was up in arms, 
and I couldn't bear to have a hand in a crooked deal. 

"Well, I advise you to go armed," said the com- 
mandant. "You will have a guard for the trucks, 
of course, and I will pick you good men. They may 
hold you up all the same. I can't help you once you 
are past the frontier, but I'll send a wire to Oesterzee 
and he'll make trouble if anything goes wrong. I 
still think you would have been wiser to humour Rasta 

As I was leaving he gave me a telegram. "Here's 
a wire for your Captain Schenk." I slipped the en- 
velope in my pocket and went out. 

Schenk was pretty sick, so I left a note for him. 
At one o'clock I got the train started, with a couple 
of German landwehr in each truck and Peter and I 
in a horse-box. Presently I remembered Schenk's tele- 



gram, which still reposed in my pocket. I took it 
out and opened it, meaning to wire it from the first 
station we stopped at. But I changed my mind when 
I read it. It was from some official at Regensburg, 
asking him to put under arrest and send back by the 
first boat a man called Brandt, who was believed to 
have come aboard aft Absthafen on the 30th of De- 

I whistled and showed it to Peter. The sooner 
we were at Constantinople the better, and I prayed we 
would get there before the fellow who sent this wire 
repeated it and got thie commandant to send on the 
message and have us held up at Chataldja. For 
my back had got fairly stiffened about these muni- 
tions, and I was going to take any risk to see them 
safely delivered to their proper owner. Peter couldn't 
understand me at all. He still hankered after a grand 
destruction of the lot somewhere down the railway. 
But then, this wasn't the line of Peter's profession, 
and his pride was not at stake. 

We had a mortally slow journey. It was bad 
enough in Bulgaria, but when we crossed the frontier 
at a place called Mustafa Pasha we struck the real 
supineness of the East. Happily I found a German 
officer there who had some notion of hustling, and, 
after all, it was his interest to get the stuff moved. 
It was the morning of the i6th, after Peter and I had 
been living like pigs on black bread and condemned 
tinned stuff, that we came in sight of a blue sea on our 
right hand and knew we couldn't be very far from 
the end. 

It was jolly near the end in another sense. We 
stopped at a station and were stretching our legs on 
the platform, when I saw a familiar figure ap- 



preaching. It was Rasta, with half a dozen Turkish 

I called to Peter, and we clambered into the truck 
next our horse-box. I had been half expecting son^ 
move like this and had made a plan. 

The Turk swaggered up and addressed us. "You 
can get back to Rustchuk/' he said "I take over 
from you here. Hand me the papers.'* 

"Is this Chataldja?" I asked innocently. 

"It is the end of your affair/' he said haughtily. 
"Quick, or it will be the worse for you.'* 

"Now, look here, my son," I said; "you're a kid 
and know nothing. I hand over to General von Oes- 
terzee and to no one else." 

"You are in Turkey," he cried, "and will obey 
the Turkish Government." 

"I'll obey the Government right enough," I said; 
"but if you're the Government I could make a better 
one with a bib and a rattle." 

He said something to his men, who unslung their 

"Please don't begin shooting," I said; "there are 
twelve armed guards in this train who will take their 
orders from me. Besides, I and my friend can shoot 
a bit." 

"Fool!" he cried, getting very angry. "I can order 
up a regiment in five minutes." 

"Maybe you can," I said; "but observe the situa- 
tion. I am sitting on enough toluol to blow up this 
countryside. If you dare to come aboard I will shoot 
you. If you call in your regiment I will tell you what 
I'll do. I'll fire this stuff, and I reckon they'll be 
picking up the bits of you and your regiment off the 
Gallipoli Peninsula." 




He had put up a bluff — a poor one — and I had 
called it. He saw I meant what I said, and became 

"Good-bye, sir,'' he said. "You have had a fair 
chance and rejected it. We shall meet again soon, 
and you will be sorry for your insolence." 

He strutted away, and it was all I could do to keep 
from running after him. I wanted to lay him over 
my knee and spank him. 

We got safely to Chataldja, and were received By 
von Oesterzee like long-lost brothers. He was the 
regular gunner-officer, not thinking about anything 
except his guns and shells. I had to wait about three 
hours while he was checking the stuff with the invoices, 
and then he gave me a receipt which I still possess. 
I told him about Rasta, and he agreed that I had done 
right. It didn't make him as mad as I expected, 
because, you see, he got his stuff safe in any case. It 
was only that the wretched Turks had to pay twice for 
a lot of it. 

He gave Peter and me luncheon, and was altogether 
very civil and inclined to talk about the war. I would 
have liked to hear what he had to say, for it would 
have been something >to get the inside view of Ger- 
many's eastern campaign, but I did not dare to wait. 
Any moment there might arrive an incriihinating wire 
from Rustchuk. Finally he lent us a car to take us 
the few miles to the city. 

So it came about that at five minutes past three 
on the 1 6th day of January, with only the clothes we 
stood up in, Peter and I entered Constantinople. 

I was in considerable spirits, for I had got the final 
lap successfully over, and I was lookkig forward madly 



to meeting my friends ; but all the same, the first sight 
was a mighty disappointment. I don't quite know 
what I had expected — a sort of fairyland Eastern city, 
all white marble and blue water, and stately Turks 
in surplices and veiled houris, and roses and nightin- 
gales, and some sort of string band discoursing sweet 
music. I had forgotten that winter is pretty much 
the same everywhere. It was a drizzling day, with 
a south-east wind blowing, and the streets were long 
troughs of mud. The first part I struck looked like 
a dingy colonial suburb — ^wooden houses and corru- 
gated iron roofs, and endless dirty, sallow children. 
There was a cemetery I remember, with Turks' caps 
stuck at the head of each grave. Then we got into 
narrow steep streets which descended to a kind of big 
canal. I saw what I took to be mosques and minarets, 
and they were about as impressive as factory chim- 
neys. By and by we crossed a bridge, and paid a 
penny for the privilege. If I had known it was the 
famous Golden Horn I would have looked at it with 
more interest, but I saw nothing save a lot of moth- 
eaten biirges and some queer little boats like gondolas. 
Then we came into busier streets, where ramshackle 
cabs drawn by lean horses spluttered through the mud. 
I saw one old fellow who looked like my notion of a 
Turk, but most of the population had the appearance 
of London old-clothes men. All but the soldiers, Turk 
and German, who seemed well-«et-up fellows. 

Peter had paddled along at my side like a faithful 
dog, not saying a word, but clearly not approving of 
this wet and dirty metropolis. 

"Do you know that we are being followed. Cor- 
nelis," he said suddenly, "ever since we came into 
this evil-smelling dorp?" 



I told him in German I wanted to speak to Mr. 
Kuprasso. He paid no attention, so I shouted louder 
at him, and the noise brought a man out of the back 

He was a fat, oldish fellow with a long nose, very 
like the Greek traders you see on the Zanzibar coast. 
I beckoned to him and he waddled forward, smiling 
oilily. Then I asked him what he would take, and he 
replied, in very halting German, that he would have a 

"You are Mr. Kuprasso," I said. "I wanted to 
show this place to my friend. He has heard of your 
garden-house and the fun there." 

"The Signor is mistaken. I have no garden- 

"Rot," I said; "I've been here before, my friend. 
I recall your shanty at the back and many merry nights 
there. What was it you called it? Oh, I remember— 
the Garden-House of Suliman the Red." 

He put his finger to his lip and looked incredibly sly. 
"The Signor remembers that. But that was in the 
old happy days before war came. The place is long 
since shut. The people here are too poor to dance 
and sing." 

"All the same I would like to have another look 
at it," I said, and I slipped an English sovereign into 
his hand. 

He glanced at it in surprise and his manner changed. 
"The Signor is a Prince, and I will do his will." He 
clapped his hands and the negro appeared, and at 
his nod took his place behind a little side-counter. 

"follow me," he said, and led us through a long, 
noisome passage, which was pitch dark and very ui-. 




evenly paved. Then he unlocked a door and with a 
swirl the wind caught it and blew it back on us. 

We were looking into a mean little yard, with on 
one side a high curving wall, evidently of great age, 
with bushes growing in the cracks of it. Some scraggy 
myrtles stood in broken pots, and nettles flourished in 
a corner. At one end was a wooden building like a 
dissenting chapel, but painted a dingy scarlet. Its 
windows and skylights were black with dirt, and its 
door, tied up with rope, flapped in the wind. 

"Behold the Pavilion," Kuprasso said proudly. 

"That is the old place," I observed with feeling. 
"What times I've seen there I Tell me, Mr. Kuprasso, 
do you ever open it now?" 

He put his thick lips to my ear. 

"If the Signor will be silent I will tell him. It is 
sometimes open — ^not often. Men must amuse them- 
selves even in war. Some of the German officers come 
here for their pleasure, and but last week we had the 
ballet of Mademoiselle Cici. The police approve — 
but not often, for this is no time for too much gaiety. 
I will tell you a secret. To-morrow afternoon there 
will be dancing — ^wonderful dancing 1 Only a few of 
my patrons know. Who, think you, will be there?" 

He bent his head closer and said in a whisper— 

"The Compagnie des Heures Roses." 
/ "Oh, indeed," I said with a proper tone of respect, 
though I hadn't a notion what he meant. 
^ "Will the Signor wish to come ?" 
V "Sure," I said, "Both of us. We're all for the 
^ rosy hours." 

"Then the fourth hour after midday. Walk 
straight through the cafe and one will be there to 
unlock the door. You are new-comers herel Take 



the advice of Angelo Kuprasso and avoid the streets 
after nightfall. Stamboul is no safe place nowadays 
for quiet men." 

I asked him to name an hotel, and he rattled off a 
list from which I chose one that sounded modest and 
in keeping with our get-up. It was not far off, only 
a hundred yards to the right at the top of the hill. 

When we left his door the night had begun to drop. 
We hadn't gone twenty yards before Peter drew very 
near to me and kept turning his head like a hunted 

"We are being followed close, Cornells," he said 

Another ten yards and we were at a cross-road, 
where a little place faced a big^sh mosque. I could 
see in the waning light a crowd of people who seemed 
to be moving towards us. I heard a high-pitched voice 
cry out a jabber of excited words, and it seemed to me 
that I had heard the voice before. 




WE battled to a comer, where a jut of building 
stood out into the street. It was our only 
chance to protect our backs, to stand up with the rib 
of stone between us. It was only the work of seconds. 
One moment we were groping our solitary way in 
the darkness, the next we were pinned against a wall 
with a throaty mob surging round us. 

It took me a moment or two to realise that we were 
attacked. Every man has one special funk in the bade 
of his head, and mine was to be the quarry of an angry 
crowd. I hated the thought of it — the mess, the blind 
struggle, the sense of unleashed passions different from 
those of any single blackguard. It was a dark world 
to me, and I don't like darkness. But in my night- 
mares I had never imagined anything just like this. 
The narrow, fetid street, with the icy winds fanning 
the filth, the unknown tongue, the hoarse savage mur- 
mur, and my utter ignorance as to what it might all 
be about, made me cold in the pit of my stomach. 

"WeVe got it in the neck this time, old man," I 
said to Peter, who had out the pistol the commandant 
at Rustchuk had giveri him. These pistols were our 
only weapons. The crowd saw them and hung back, 
but if they chose to rush us it wasn't much of a barrier 
two pistols would make. 



Rasta's voice had stopped. He had done his work, 
and had retired to the background. There were shouts 
from the crowd. "Alleman^^ and a word '^Khafiyeh'^ 
constantly repeated. I didn't know what it meant at 
the time, but now I know that they were after us 
because we were Boches and spies. There was no love 
lost between the Constantinople scum and their new 
masters. It seemed an ironical end for Peter, and me 
to be done in because we were Boches. And done in 
we should be. I had heard of the East as a good 
place for people to disappear in ; there were no inquisi- 
tive newspapers or incorruptible police. 

I wished to Heaven I had a word of Turkish. But 
I made my voice heard for a second in a pause of the 
din, and shouted that we were German sailors who 
had brought down big guns for Turkey, and were 
going home next day. I asked them what the devil 
they thought we had done? I don't know if any fellow 
there understood German; anyhow, it only brought a 
pandemonium of cries in which that ominous word 
Khafiyeh was predominant. 

Then Peter fired over their heads. He had to, for 
a chap was pawing at his throat. The answer was 
a clatter of bullets on the wall above us. It looked 
as if they meant to take us alive, and that I was very 
clear should not happen. Better a bloody end in a 
street scrap than the tender mercies of that bandbox 

I don't quite know what happened next. A press 
drove down at me and I fired. Some one squealed, 
and I looked the next moment to be strangled. And 
then suddenly the scrimmage eased, and there was a 
wavering splash of light in that pit of darkness. 

I never went through many worse minutes than 



these. When I had been hunted in the past weeks 
there had Been mystery enough, but no immediate 
peril to face. When I had been up against a real, 
urgent, physical risk, like Loos, the danger at any 
rate had been clear. One knew what one was in for. 
But here was a threat I couldn't put a name to, and 
it wasn't in the future, but pressing hard at our 

And yet I couldn't feel it was quite real. The patter 
of the pistol bullets against the wall, like so many 
crackers, the faces felt rather than seen in the dark, 
the clamour which to me was pure gibberish, had all 
the madness of a nightmare. Only Peter, cursing 
steadily in Dutch by my side, was real. And then 
the light came, and made the scene more eerie I 

It came from one or two torches carried by wild 
fellows with long staves who drove their way into 
the heart of the mob. The flickering glare ran up 
the steep wall and made monstrous shadows. The 
wind swung the flame into long streamers, dying away 
in a fan of sparks. 

And now a new word was heard :n the crowd. It 
was Chinganeh, shouted not in anger but in fear. 

At first I could not see the new-comers. They were 
hidden in the deep darkness under their canopy of 
[light, for they were holding their torches high at the 
' full stretch of their arms. They were shouting, too, 
wild shrill cries ending sometimes in a gush of rapid 
speecli. Their words did not seem to be directed 
against us, but against the crowd. A sudden hope 
came to me that for some unknown reason they were 
on our side. 

The press was no longer heavy against us. It was 

thinning rapidly and I could hear the scuffle as men 

1 66 


made off down the side streets. My first notion was 
that these were the Turkish police. But I changed 
my mind when the leader came out into a patch of 
light. He carried no torch, but a long stave with 
which he belaboured the heads of those who were too 
tightly packed to flee. 

It was the most eldritch apparition you can conceive. 
A tall man dressed in skins, with bare legs and sandal- 
shod feet. A wisp of scarlet cloth clung to his shoul- 
ders, and, drawn over his head down close to his eyes, 
was a skull-cap of some kind of pelt with the tail 
waving behind it. He capered like a wild animal, 
keeping up a strange high monotone that fairly gave 
me the creeps. 

I was suddenly aware that the crowd had gone. 
Before us was only this figure and his half-dozen com- 
panions, some carrying torches and all wearing cldthes 
of skin. But only the one who seemed to be their 
leader wore the skull-cap ; the rest had bare heads and 
long tangled hair. 

The fellow was shouting pbberish at me. His eyes 
were glassy, like a man who smokes hemp, and his 
legs were never still a second. You would think 
such a figure no better than a mountebank, and yet 
there was nothing comic in it. Fearful and sinister 
and uncanny it was; and I wanted to do anything 
but laugh. 

As he shouted he kept pointing with his stave up a 
street which climbed the hillside. 

"He means us to move," said Peten "For God's 
sake let's get away from this witch-doctor." 

I couldn't make sense of it, but one thing was dear. 
These maniacs had delivered us for the moment from 
Rasta and his friends. 



Then I did a dashed silly thing. I pulled out a 
sovereign and oflered it to the leader. I had some 
jcirid of notion of showing gratitude, and as I had no 
.^^ords I had to show it by deed. 

He brought his stick down on ray wrist and sent 
■t^t^c com spinning in the gutter. His eyes blazed, and 
}sc: made his weapon sing round my head. He cursed 
xx»e — oh, I could tell cursing well enough, though I 
cJi«in't follow a word; and he cried to his followers and 
■th.ey cursed me too. I had offered him a mortal insult 
sind stirred up a worse hornet's nest than Rasta's 

Peter and I, with a common impulse, took to our 
tieels. We were not looking for any trouble with 
<lemoniac8. Up that steep narrow lane we ran mth 
that bedlamite crowd at our heels. The torclfes 
seemed to have gone out, for the place was black as 
jjitch, and we tumbled over heaps of offal and splashed 
tHrough running drains. The men were close behind 
us, and more than once I felt a stick on my shoulder. 
Sut fear lent us wings, and suddenly before us was a 
tilaze of H^t and we saw the debouchment of our 
street in a main thoroughfare. The others saw it too, 
for they slackened ofE. Just before we reached the 
light we stopped and looked round- There was no 
sound or sight behind us in the black lane which dipped 
to the harbour. 

.. . '* ^ queer country, Cornells," said Peter, 
feeling his limbs for bruises. "Too many things hap- 
P^" '" t°? short a time. I am breathless." 

he big street we had struck seemed to run along 
the crest of the hill. There were lamps in it, and 
crawling cabs, and quite civilised-looking shops. We 
soon found the hotel to which Kuprasso had directed 


us, a big place in a courtyard with a very tumble-down- 
looking portico, and green sun shutters which rattled 
drearily in the winter's wind. It proved, as I had 
feared, to be packed to the door, mostly with German 
officers. With some trouble I got an interview with 
the proprietor, the usual Greek, and told him that we 
had been sent there by Mr. Kuprasso. That didn't 
affect him in the least, and we would have been shot 
into the street if I hadn't remembered about Stumm's 

So I explained that we had come from Germany 
with munitions and only wanted rooms for one night. 
I showed him the pass and blustered a good deal, till 
he became civil and said he would do the best he could 
for us. 

That best was pretty poor. Peter and I were 
doubled up in a small room which contained two camp 
beds and little else, and had broken windows through 
which the wind whistled. We got a wretched dinner 
of stringy mutton boiled with vegetables, and a white 
cheese strong enough to raise the dead. But I got a 
bottle of whisky, for which I paid a sovereign, and 
we managed to light the stove in our room, fasten the 
shutters, and warm our hearts with a brew of toddy. 
After that we went to bed and slept like logs for 
twelve hours. On the road from Rustchuk we had had 
uneasy slumbers. 

I woke next morning and, looking out from the 
broken window, saw that it was snowing. With a lot 
of trouble I got hold of a servant and made him bring 
us some of the treacly Turkish coffee. We were both 
in pretty low spirits. "Europe is a poor cold place," 
said Peter, **not worth fighting for. There is only 



one white man's land, and that is South Africa." At 
the time I heartily agreed with him. 

I remember that, sitting on the edge of my bed, I 
took stock of our position. It was not very cheering. 
We seemed to have been amassing enemies at a furious 
pace. First of all, there was Rasta, whom I had in-| 
suited and who wouldn't forget it in a hurry. He had 
his crowd of Turkish riff-raff and was bound to get us 
sooner or later. Then there was the maniac in the 
skin hat. He didn't like Rasta, and I made a guess 
that he and his weird friends were of some party 
hostile to the Young Turks. But, on the other hand, 
he didn't like us, and there would be bad trouble the 
next time we met him. Finally^ there was Stumm and 
the German Government. It could only be a matter 
of hours at the best before he got the Rustchuk 
authorities on our trail. It would be easy to trace us 
from Chataldja, and once they had us we were abso- 
lutely done. There was a big black dossier against 
us, which by no conceivable piece of luck could be 

It was very dear to me that, unless we could find 
sanctuary and shed all our various pursuers during 
this day, we should be done in for good and all. But 
where on earth were we to find sanctuary? We had 
neither of us a word of the language, and there wasj 
no way I could see of taking on new characters. For 
that we wanted friends and help, and I could think of 
none anywhere. Somewhere, to be sure, there was 
Blenkiron, but how could we get in touch with him? 
As for Sandy, I had pretty well given him up. I 
always thought his enterprise the craziest of the lot, 
and bound to fail. He was probably somewhere in 
Asia Minor, and a month or two later would get to 



Constantinople and hear in some pot-house the yarn of 
the two wretched Dutchmen who had disappeared so 
soon from men's sight. 

That rendezvous at Kuprasso's was no good It 
would have been all right if we had got here unsus- 
pected, and could have gone on quietly frequenting 
the place till Blenklron picked us up. But to do that 
we wanted leisure and secrecy, and here we were with 
a pack of hounds at our heels. .The place was horribly 
dangerous already. If we showed ourselves there we 
should be gathered in by Rasta, or by the German 
military police, or by the madman in the skin cap. It 
was a stark impossibility to hang about on the ofi- 
chance of meeting Blenkiron. 

I reflected with some bitterness that this was the 
17th day of January, the day of our assignation. I 
had had high hopes all the way down the Danube of 
meeting with Blenkiron — for I knew he would be in 
time — of giving him the information I had had the 
good fortune to collect, of piecing it together with 
what he had found out, and of getting the whole story 
which Sir Walter hungered for. After that, I thought 
it wouldn't be hard to get away by Rumania, and to 
get home through Russia. I had hoped to be back 
with my battalion in February, having done as good a 
bit of work as anybody in the war. As it was, it looked 
as if my information would die with me, unless I could 
find Blenkiron before the evening. 

I talked the thing over with Peter, and he agreed 
that we were fairly up against it. We decided to go 
to Kuprasso's that afternoon, and to trust to luck for 
the rest. It wouldn't do to wander about the streets, 
so we sat tight in our room all morning, and swopped 
old hunting yams to keep our minds from the beastly 



present. We got some food at midday — cold mutton 
and the same cheese, and finished our whisky. Then 
I paid the bill, for I cUdn't dare to stay there another 
night. About half-past three we went into the street, 
without the foggiest notion where we would find our 
next quarters. 

It was snowing heavily, which was a piece of luck 
for us. Poor old Peter had no greatcoat, and mine 
was nothing to boast of, so we went into a Jew's shop 
and bought two ready-made abominations, whidi 
looked as if they might have been meant for dissent- 
ing parsons. It was no good saving my money, when 
the future was so black. The snow made the streets 
deserted, and we turned down the long lane which led 
to Ratchik ferry and found it perfectly quiet. I do not 
think we met a soul till we got to Kuprasso's shop. 

We walked straight through the cafe, which was 
empty, and down the dark passage, till we were 
stopped by the garden door. I knocked and it swung 
open. There was the bleak yard, now puddled with 
snow, and a blaze of light from the pavilion iat the 
other end There was a scraping of fiddles too, and 
the sound of human talk. We paid the negro at the 
door, and passed from the bitter afternoon into a 
garish saloon. 

There were forty or fifty people there, drinking 
coffee and sirops and filling the air with the fumes of 
latakia. Most of them were Turks in European 
clothes and the fez, but there were some German 
officers and what looked like German civilians — ^Army 
Service Corps clerks, probably, and mechanics from 
the Arsenal. A woman in cheap finery was tinkling 
at the piano, and there were several shrill females 
with the officers. Peter and I sat down modestly in the 



nearest corner, where old Kuprasso saw us and sent 
us coffee. A girl who looked like a Jewess came over 
to us and talked French, but I shook my head and she 
went off again. 

Presently a girl came on the stage and danced, a 
silly affair, all a clashing of tambourines and wriggling. 
I have seen native women do the same thing better 
in a Mozambique kraal. Another sang a German 
song, a simple, sentimental thing about golden hair 
and rainbows, and the Germans present applauded. 
The place was so tinselly and common that, coming 
to it from weeks of rough travelling, it made me impa- 
tient. I forgot that, while for the others it might be 
a vulgar little dancing-hall, for us it was as perilous 
as a brigands' den. 

Peter did not share my mood. He was quite inter- 
ested in it, as. he was interested in everything new. 
He had a genius for living in the moment. 

I remember there was a drop-scene on which was 
daubed a blue lake with very green hills in the dis* 
tance. As the tobacco smdke grew thicker and the 
fiddles went on squealing, this tawdry picture began 
to mesmerise me. I seemed to be looking out of a 
window at a lovely summer landscape where there 
were no wars or dangers. I seemed to feel the warm 
sun and to smell the fragrance of blossom from the 
islands. And then I became aware that a queer scent 
had stolen into the heavy atmosphere. 

There were braziers burning at both ends to warm 
the room, and the thin smoke from these smelt^jike 
incense. Somebody had been putting a powder in the 
flames, for suddenly the place became very quiet. The 
fiddles still sounded, but far away like an echo. The 



lights went down, all but a circle on the stage, and 
into that circle stepped my enemy of the skin cap. 

He had three others with him. I heard a whisper 
behind me, and the words were those which Kuprasso 
had used the day before. These bedlamites were 
called the Companions of the Rosy Hours, and Ku- 
prasso had promised great dancing. 

I hoped to goodness they would not see ys, for they 
had fairly pven me the horrors. Peter felt the same, 
and we both made ourselves very small in that dark 
comer. But the newcomers had no eyes for us. 

In a twinkling the pavilion changed from a common 
saloon, which might have been in Chicago or Paris, 
to a place of mystery — ^yes, and of beauty. It be- 
came the garden-house of Suliman the Red, whoever 
that sportsman might have been. Sandy had said 
that the ends of the earth converged there, and he had 
been right. I lost all consciousness of my neighbours 
— stout German, frock-coated Turk, frowsy Jewess — 
and saw only strange figures leaping in a circle of 
light, figures that^ came out of the deepest darkness 
to make big magic. 

The leader flung some stuff into the brazier and a 
great fan of blue light flared up. He was weaving 
circles, and he was singing something shrill and high, 
whilst his companions made a chorus with their deep 
monotone. I can't tell you what the dance was. I 
had seen the Russian ballet just before the war, and 
one of the men in it reminded me of this man. But 
the dancing was the least part of it. It was neither 
sound nor movement nor scent that wrought the spell, 
but something far more potent In an instant I found 
myself reft away from the present, with its dull dan- 
gers, and looking at a world all young and fresh and 



beautiful. The gaudy drop-scene had vanished. It 
was a window I was looking from, and I was gazing 
at the finest landscape on earth, lit by the pure clear 
light of morning. 

It seemed to be part of the veld, but like no veld 
I had ever seen. It was wider and wilder and more 
gracious. Indeed, I was looking at my first youth. I 
was feeling the kind of unspeakable light-heartedness 
which only a boy knows in the dawning of his days. 
I had no longer any fear of these magic-makers. They 
were kindly wizards, who had brought me into fairy- 

Then slowly from the silence there distilled drops 
of music. They came like water falling a long way 
into a cup, each the essential quality of pure sound. 
We, with out elaborate harmonies, have forgotten the 
charm of single notes. The African natives know 
it, and I remember a learned man once telling me 
that the Greeks had the same art. These silver bells 
broke out of infinite space, so exquisite and perfect 
that no mortal words could have been fitted to them. 
That wa^ the music, I expect, that the morning stars 
made when they sang together. 

Slowly, very slowly, it changed. The glow passed 
from blue to purple, and then to an angry red. Bit 
by bit the notes spun together till they had made a 
harmony — a fierce, restless harmony. And I was con- 
scious again of the skin-clad dancers beckoning out of 
their circle. 

There was no mistake about the meaning now. All 
the daintiness and youth had fled, and passion was 
beating in the air — terrible, savage passion, which 1be- 
longed neither to day nor night, life nor death, but to 
the half-world between them. I suddenly felt the 



dancers as monstrous, inhuman, devilish. The thick 
scents that floated from the brazier seemed to have a 
tang of new-shed blood. Cries broke from the hearers 
— cries of anger and lust and terror. I heard a woman 
sob, and Peter, who is as tough as any mortal, took 
tight hold of my arm. 

I now realised that these Companions of the Rosy 
Hours were the only thing in the world to fear. Rasta 
and Stumm seemed feeble simpletons by contrast. The 
window I had been looking out of was changed to a 
prison wall — I could see the mortar between the 
massive blocks. In a second these devils would be 
smelling out their enemies like some foul witch-doc- 
tors. I felt the burning eyes of their leader looking 
for me in the gloom. Peter was praying audibly be- 
side me, and I could have choked him. His infernal 
chatter would reveal us, for it seemed to me that there 
was no one in the place beside us and the magic- 

Then suddenly the spell was broken. The door was 
flung open and a great gust of icy wind swirled through 
the hall, driving clouds of ashes from the braziers. I 
heard loud voices without, and a hubbub began inside. 
For a moment it was quite dark, and ihen some one 
lit one of the flare lamps by the stage. It revealed 
nothing but the common squalor of a low saloon- 
white faces, sleepy eyes, and frowsy heads. The drop- 
scene was there in all its tawdriness. 

The Companions of the Rosy Hours had gone. But 
at the door stood men in uniform ; I heard a German 
a long way off murmur, "Enver's bodyguards," and I 
heard him distinctly ; for though I could not see dearly, 
my hearing was desperately acute. That is often the 
way when you suddenly come out of a swoon. 



The place emptied like magic. Turk and German 
tumbled over each other, while Kuprasso wailed and 
wept. No one seemed to stop them, and then I saw 
the reason. Those Guards had come for us. This 
must be Stumm at last. The authorities had tracked 
us down, and it was all up with Peter and me. 

A sudden revulsion leaves a man with low vitality. 
I didn't seem to care greatly. We were done, and 
there was an end of it. It was Kismet, the act of 
God, and there was nothing for it but to submit. I 
hadn't a flicker of a thought of escape or resistance. 
The game was utterly and absolutely over. 

A man who seemed to be a sergeant pointed to us 
and said something to Kuprasso, who nodded. We 
got heavily to our feet and stumbled towards them. 
With one on each side of us we crossed the yard, 
walked through the dark passage and the empty shop, 
and out into the snowy street. There was a closed 
cab waiting which they motioned us to get into. It 
looked exactly like the Black Maria. 

Both of us sat still, like truant schoolboys, with our 
hands on our knees. I didn't know where I was going 
and I didn't care. We seemed to be rumbling up the 
hill, and then I caught the glare of lighted streets. 

"This is the end of it, Peter," I said. 

^'Ja, Comelis," he replied, and that was all our 

By and by — ^hours later it seemed — ^we stopped. 
Some one opened the door and we got out, to find 
ourselves in a courtyard with a huge dark building 
around. The prison, I guessed, and I wondered if 
they would give us blankets, for it was perishing 

We entered a door, and found ourselves in a big 



stone hall. It was quite warm, which made me more 
hopeful about our cells. A man in some kind of uni- 
form pointed to the staircase, up which we plodded 
wearily. My mind was too blank to take impressions, 
or in any way to forecast the future. Another warder 
met us and took us down a passage till we halted at a 
doof. He stood aside and motioned us to enter. 

I guessed that was the governor's room, and we 
should be put through our first examination. My head 
was too stupid to think, .and I made up my mind to 
keep perfectly mum. Yes, even if they tried thumb- 
screws. I had no kind of story, but I resolved not 
to give anything away. As I turned the handle I 
wondered idly what kind of sallow Turk or bulging- 
necked German we should find inside. 

It was a pleasant room, with a polished wood floor 
and a big fire burning on the hearth. Beside the fire 
a man lay on a couch, with a little table drawn up 
beside him. On that table was a small glass of milk 
and a number of Patience cards spread in rows. 

I stared blankly at the spectacle, till I saw a second 
figure. It was the man in the skin-cap, the leader of 
the dancing maniacs. Both Peter and I backed sharply 
at the sight and then stood stock still. 

For the dancer crossed the room in two strides and 
gripped both of my hands. 

**r)ick, old man," he cried, **I'm most awfully glad 
to see you again 1" 




A SPASM of incredulity, a vast relief, and that 
sharp joy which comes of reaction chased each 
other across my mind. I had come suddenly out of 
very black waters into an unbelievable calm. I 
dropped into the nearest chair and tried to grapple 
with something far beyond words. 

"Sandy," I said, as soon as I got my breath, "youVe 
an incarnate devil. You've given Peter and me the 
fright of our lives." 

"It was the only way, Dick. If I hadn't come mew- 
ing like a tom-cat at your heels yesterday, Rasta would 
have had you long before you got to your hotel. You 
two have g^ven me a pretty anxious time, and it took 
some doing to get you safe here. However, that is 
all over now. Make yourselves at home, my 

"Over I" I cried incredulously, for my wits were 
still wool-gathering. "What place is this?" 

"You may call it my humble home" — it was Blen- 
kiron's sleek voice that spoke. "We've been prepar- 
ing for you. Major, but it was only yesterday I heard 
of your friend." 

I introduced Peter. 

"Mr. Pienaar," said Blenkiron. "Pleased to meet 
you. Well, as I was observing, you're safe enough 



here, but youVe cut it mighty fine. Officially, a Dutch- 
man called Brandt was to be arrested this afternoon 
and handed over to the German authorities. When 
Germany begins to trouble about that Dutchman she 
will find difficulty in getting the body ; but such are the 
languid Ways of an Oriental despotism. Meantime the 
Dutchman will be no more. He will have ceased upon 
the midnight without pain, as your poet sings." 

"But I don't understand," I stammered. "Who 
arrested us?" 

"My men," said Sandy. "We have a bit of a graft 
here, and it wasn't difficult to manage it. Old Moellen- 
dorff will be nosing after the business to-morrow, but 
he will find the mystery too deep for him. That is 
the advantage of a Government run by a pack of ad- 
venturers. But, by Jove, Dick, we hadn't any time 
to spare. If Rasta had got you, or the Germans had 
had the job of lif tmg you, your goose would have been 
jolly well cooked. I had some unquiet hours this 

The thing was too deep for me. I looked at Blen- 
kiron, shuffling his Patience cards with his old sleepy 
smile, and Sandy, dressed like some bandit in melo- 
drama, his lean face as brown as a nut, his bare arms 
aU tattooed with crimson rings, and the fox pelt drawn 
tight over brow and ears. It was still a nightmare 
world, but the dream was getting pleasanter. Peter 
said not a word, but I could see his eyes heavy with his 
own thoughts. 

Blenkiron hove himself from the sofa and waddled 
to a cupboard. 

"You boys must be hungry," he said. "My duo- 
denum has been giving me hell as usual, and I don't 
eat no more than a squirrel. But I laid in some stores, 




far I guessed you would want to stoke up some after 
your travels." 

He brought out a couple of Strassburg pies, a 
cheese, a cold chicken, a loaf, and three bottles of 

"Fizz," said Sandy rapturously. "And a dry Heid- 
sieck too I WeVe in luck, Dick, old man." 

I never ate a more welcome meal, for we had 
starved in that dirty hotel. But I had still the old 
feeling of the hunted, and before I began I asked 
about the door. 

"That's all right," said Sandy. "My fellows are 
on the stair and at the gate. If the Metreb are in 
possession, you may bet that other people ^11 keep 
off. Your past is blotted out, dean vanished away, 
and you begin to-morrow morning with a new sheet. 
• Blenkiron's the man -you've got to thank for that. 
He was pretty certain you'd get here, but he was also 
certain that you'd arrive in a hurry with a good many 
inquiries behind you. So he arranged that you should 
leak away and start fresh." 

"Your name is Richard Hanau," Blenkiron said, 
"bom in Cleveland, Ohio, of German parentage on 
both sides. One of our brightest mining-engineers, 
and the apple of Guggenheim's eye. You arrived this 
afternoon from Constanza, and I met you at the 
packet. The clothes for the part are in your bed- 
room next door. But I guess all that can wait, for 
I'm anxious to get to business. We're not here on a 
joy-ride, Major, so I reckon we'll leave out the dime- 
novel adventures. I'm just dying to hear them, but 
they'll keep. I want to know how our mutual inquiries 
have prospered." 

He gave Peter and me cigars, and we sat ourselves 



in arm-chairs in front of the blaze. Sandy squatted 
cross-legged on the hearthrug and lit a foul old briaf 
pipe, which he extricated from some pouch among hi^ 
skins. And so began that conversation which had 
never been out of my thoughts for four hectic weeks. 

**If I presume to bepn," said Blenkiron, "it's be- 
cause I reckon my story is the shortest. I have to con- 
fess to you, gentlemen, that I have failed.*' 

He drew down the corners of his mouth till he 
looked a cross between a music-hall comedian and a 
sick child. 

"If you were looking for something in the root of 
the hedge, you wouldn't want to scour the road in a 
high-speed automobile. And still less would you want 
to get a bird's-eye view in an aeroplane. That parable 
about fits my case. I have been in the clouds and I've 
been scorching on the pikes, but what I was wanting 
was in the ditch all the time, and I naturally missed it. 
... I had the wrong stunt. Major. I was too high 
up and refined. I've been processing through Europe 
like Barnum's Circus, and living with generals and 
transparencies. Not that I haven't picked lup a lot of 
noos, and got some very interesting sidelights on high 
politics. But the thing I was after wasn't to be found 
in my beat, for those that knew it weren't going to tell. 
In that kind of society they don't get drunk and blab 
after their tenth cocktail. So I guess I've no contri- 
bution to make to quieting Sir Walter Bullivant's mind, 
except that he's dead right Yes, sir, he has hit the 
spot and rung the bell. There is a mighty miracle- 
working proposition being floated in these parts^ but 
the promoters arc keeping it to themselves. They 
aren't taking more than they can help in on the ground- 




Blenkiron stopped to light a fresh cigar. He was 
leaner than when he left London and there were 
pouches below his eyes. I fancy his journey had not 
been as fur-lined as he made out. 

^Tve found out one thing, and that is» that the last 
dream Germany will part with is the control of the 
Near East. That is what your statesmen don't figure 
enough on. She'll give up Bel^um and Alsace-Lor- 
raine and Poland, but by God I she'll never give up 
the road to Mesopotamia till you have her by the 
throat and make her drop it. Sir Walter is a pretty 
bright-eyed citizen, and he sees it ri^t enough. If 
the worst happens. Kaiser will fling overboard a lot of 
ballast in Europe, and it will look like a big victory for 
the Allies, but he won't be beaten if he has the road 
to the East safe. Germany's like a scorpion : her 
sting's in her tail, and that tail stretches way down 
into Asia. 

'*I got that clear, and I also made out that it wasn't 
going to be dead easy for her to keep that tail healthy. 
Turkey's a bit of an anxiety, as you'll soon discover. 
But Germany thinks she can manage it, and I won't 
say she can't. It depends on the hand she holds, and 
she redcons it a good one. I tried to find out, but 
they gave me nothing but eyewash. I had to pretend 
to be satisfied, for the position of John S. wasn't so 
strong as to allow him to take liberties. If I asked one 
of the highbrows, he looked wise, and spoke of the 
might of German arms and German organisation and 
German staff-work' I used to nod my head and get 
enthusiastic about these stunts, but it was all soft soap. 
She has a trick in hand — that much I know, but Fm 
darned if I can put a name to it. I pray to God you 
boys have been cleverer." 



His tone was quite melancholy, and I was mean 
enough to feel rather glad. He had been the pro- 
fessional with the best chance. It would be a good 
joke if the amateur succeeded where the expert failed. 

I looked at Sandy. He filled his pipe again, and 
pushed back his skin cap from his brows. What with 
his long dishevelled hair, his high-boned face, and 
stained eyebrows he had the appearance of some mad 

"I went straight to Smyrna," he said. "It wasn't 
difScult, for you see I had laid down a good many lines 
in former travels. I reached the town as a Greek 
money-lender from the Fayoum, but I had friends 
there I could count on, and the same evening I was 
a Turkish gipsy, a member of the most famous frater- 
nity in Western Asia. I had long been a member, and 
I'm blood-brother of the chief boss, so I stepped into 
the part ready made. But I found out that the Com- 
pany of the Rosy Hours was not what I had known it 
in 19 ID. Then it had been all for the Young Turks 
and reform; now it hankered after the old regime and 
was the last hope of the Orthodox. It had no use for 
Enver and his friends, and it did not regard with 
pleasure the beaux yeux of the Teuton. It stood for 
Islam and the old ways, and might be described as a 
Conservative-Nationalist caucus. But it was uncom- 
mon powerful in the provinces, and Enver and Talaat 
daren't meddle with it. The dangerous thing about 
it was that it said nothing and apparently did nothing. 
It just bided its time and took notes. 

"You can imagine that this was the very kind of 
crowd for my purpose. I knew of old its little ways, 
for with all its orthodoxy it dabbled a good deal in 
magic, and owed half its power to its atmosphere of 



the uncanny. The Companions could dance the hearts 
out of the ordinary Turk. You saw a bit of one of 
our dances this afternoon, Dick — ^pretty good, wasn't 
it? They could go anywhere, and no question asked. 
They knew what the ordinary man was thinking, for 
they were the best intelligence department in the Otto- 
man Empire — far better than Enver's Khafiyeh. And 
they were popular too, for they had never bowed the 
knee to the Nemseh — ^the Germans who are squeezing 
out the life-blood of the Osmanli for their own ends. 
It would have been as much as the life of the Com- 
mittee or its German masters was worth to lay a hand 
on us, for we dung together like leeches and we were 
not in the habit of sticking at trifles. 

"Well, you may imagine it wasn't difficult for me 
to move where I wanted. My dress and the pass- 
word franked me anywhere. I travelled from Smyrna 
by the new railway to Pandemia on the Marmora, 
and got there just before Christmas. That was after 
Anzac and Suvla had been evacuated, but I could hear 
the guns going hard at Cape Helles. From Panderma 
I started to cross to Thrace in a coasting steamer. 
And there an uncommon funny thing happened — I got 

"It must have been about the last effort of a British 
submarine in these waters. But she got us all right. 
She gave us ten minutes to take to the boats, and then 
sent the blighted old packet and a fine cargo of 6-inch 
shells to the bottom. There weren't many passengers, 
so it was easy enough to get ashore in the ship's boats. 
The submarine sat on the surface watching us, as we 
wailed and howled in the true Oriental way, and I 
saw the captain quite close in the conning-tower. Who 



do you think it was? Tommy Elliot, who lives on 
the other side of the hill from me at home. 

"I gave Tommy the surprise of his life. As we 
bumped past him, I started the *Flowers of the Forest' 
— ^the old version — on the antique stringed instrument 
I carried, and I sang the words very plain. Tommy's 
eyes bulged out of his head, and he shouted at me in 
English to know who the devil I was. I replied in the 
broadest Scots, which no man in the submarine or in 
our boat could have understood a word of. *Maister 
Tammy,' I cried, *what for wad ye skail a dacent 
tinkler lad intil a cauld sea? I'll gie ye your kail 
through the reek for this ploy the next time I for- 
gaither wi* ye on the tap o' Caerdon.' 

"Tommy spotted me in a second. He laughed till 
he cried, and as we moved off shouted to me in the 
same language to *pit a stoot hert tae a stey brae.' 
I hope to Heaven he had the sense not to tell my 
father, or the old man will have had a fit. He never 
much approved of my wanderings, and thought I was 
safely anchored in the battalion. 

"Well, to make a long story short, I got to Con- 
stantinople, and pretty soon found touch with Blen- 
kiron. The rest you know. . . . And now for busi- 
ness. I have been fairly lucky — ^but no more, for I 
haven't got to the bottom of the thing nor anything 
like it. But I've solved the first of Harry BuUivant's 
riddles. I know the meaning of Kasredin. 

"Sir Walter was right, as Blenkiron has told us. 
There's a great stirring in Islam, something moving 
on the face of the waters. They make no secret of 
it. These religious revivals come in cycles, and one 
was due about now. And they are quite clear about 
the details. A seer has arisen of the blood of the 



Prophet, who will restore the Khalifate to its old 
glories and Islam to its old purity. His sayings are 
everywhere in the Moslem world. All the orthodox 
believers have them by heart. That is why they are 
enduring grinding poverty and preposterous taxation, 
and that is why their young men are rolling up to the 
armies and dying without complaint in Gallipoli and 
Transcaucasia. They believe they are on the eve of a 
great deliverance. 

"Now the first thing I found out was that the Young 
Turks had nothing to do with this. They are unpop- 
ular and unorthodox, and no true Turks. But Ger- 
many has. How, I don't know, but I could see quite 
plainly that in some subtle way Germany wad regarded 
as a collaborator in the movement. It is that belief 
that is keeping the present regime going. The ordi- 
nary Turk loathes the Committee, but he has some 
queer perverted expectation from Germany. It is not 
a case of Enver and the rest carrying on their shoul- 
ders the unpopular Teuton ; it is a case of the Teuton 
carrying the unpopular Committee. And Germany's 
graft is just this and nothing more — ^that she has some 
hand in the coming of the new deliverer. 

"They talk about the thing quite openly. It is called 
the Kadba-i-hurriyeh, the Palladium of Liberty. The 
prophet himself is known as Zimrud — "the Emerald" 
— and his four ministers are called also after jewels — 
Sapphire, Ruby, Pearl, and Topaz. You will hear 
their names as often in the talk of the towns and vil- 
lages as you will hear the names of generals in Eng- 
land. But no one knew where Zimrud was or when he 
would reveal himself, though every week came his mes- 
sages to the faithful. All that I could learn was that 
he and his followers were coming from the West. 



"You will say, what about Kasredin? That puzzled 
rne dreadfully, for no one used the phrase. The Home 
of the Spirit! It is an obvious cliche, just as in Eng- 
land some new sect might call itself the Church of 
Christ. Only no one seemed to use it. 

"But by and by I discovered that there was an 
inner and an outer circle in this mystery. Every creed 
has an esoteric side which is kept from the common 
herd. I struck this side in Constantinople. Now 
there is a very famous Turkish shaka called Kasre- 
din, one of those old half -comic miracle-plays with 
an allegorical meaning which they call orta oyun, 
and which take a week to read. That tale tells of 
the coming of a prophet, and I found that the select 
of the faith spoke of the new revelation in terms of it. 
The curious thing is that in that tale the prophet is 
aided by one of the few women who play much part 
in the hagiology of Islam. That is the point of the 
tale, and it is partly a jest, but mainly a religious 
mystery. The prophet, too, is not called Emerald." 
"I know," I said; "he is called Greenmantle." 
Sandy scrambled to his feet, letting his pipe drop 
in the fireplace. 

"Now how on earth did you find out that?" he 

Then I told them of Stumm and Gaudian and the 
whispered words I had not been meant to hear. Blen- 
kiron was giving me the benefit of a steady stare, 
unusual from one who seemed always to have his eyes 
abstracted, and Sandy had taken to ran^ng up and 
down the room. 

"Germany's in the heart of the plan. That is what 
I always thought. If we're to find the Kaaba-i- 
hurriyeh it is no good fossicking among the Committee 



or in the Turkish provinces. The secret's in Germany. 
Dick, you should not have crossed the Danube." 

"That's what I half feared," I said. "But on the 
other hand it is obvious that the thing must come east, 
and sooner rather than later. I take it they can't 
afford to delay too long before they deliver the goods. 
If we can stick it out here we must hit the trail. . . . 
I've got another bit of evidence. I have solved Harry 
Bullivant's third puzzle." 

Sandy's eyes were very bright and I had an audience 
on wires. 

"Did you say that in the tale of Kasredtn a woman 
is the ally of the prophet?" 

"Yes," said Sandy; "what of that?" 

"Only that the same thing is true of Greenmantle. 
I can give you her name." 

I fetched a piece of paper and a pencil from Blen- 
kiron's desk and handed it to Sandy. 

"Write down Harry Bullivant's third word." 

He promptly wrote down ^^v. I." 

Then I told them of the other name Stumm and 
Gaudian had spoken. I told of my discovery as I lay 
in the woodman's cottage. 

"The T is not the letter of the alphabet, but the 
numeral. The name is von Einem — ^Hilda von 

"Good old Harry," said Sandy softly. "He was a 
dashed clever chap. Hilda von Einem 1 Who and 
where is she? for if we find her we have done the 

Then Blenkiron spoke. "I reckon I can put you 
wise on that, gentlemen," he said. "I saw her no 
later than yesterday. She is a loVely lady. She hap- 
pens also to be the owner of this house." 



Both Sandy and I began to laugh. It was too comic 
to have stumbled across Europe and lighted on the 
very headquarters of the puzzle we had set out to 

But Blenkiron did not laugh. At the mention of 
Hilda von Einem he had suddenly become very solemn, 
and the sight of his face pulled me up short. 

"I don't like it, gentlemen," he said. "I would 
rather you had mentioned any other name on God's 
earth. I haven't been long in this city, but I have 
been long enough to size up the various political bosses. 
They haven't much to them. I reckon they wouldn't 
stand up against what we could show them in the 
U-nited States. But I have met the Frau von Einem, 
and that lady's a very different proposition. The man 
that will understand her has got to take a biggish size 
in hats." 

"Who is she?" I asked. 

"Why, that is just what I can't tell you. She was ^ 
great excavator of Babylonish and Hittite ruins, and 
she married a diplomat who went to glory three years 
back. It isn't what she has been, but what she is, and 
that's a mighty clever woman." 

Blenkiron's respect did not depress me. I felt as if 
at last we had got our job narrowed to a decent com- 
pass, for I had hated casting about in the dark. I 
asked where she lived. 

"That I don't know," said Blenkiron. "You won't 
find people unduly anxious to gratify your natural 
curiosity about Frau von Einem." 

"I can find that out," said Sandy. "That's the 
advantage of having a push like mine. Meantime, 
I've got to clear, for my day's work isn't finished. 
Dick, you and Peter must go to bed at once." 



"Why?" I asked in amazement. Sandy spoke like 
a medical adviser. 

"Because I want your clothes — ^the things you've 
got on now. I'll take them off with me and you'll never 
see them again." 

"You've a queer taste in souvenirs," I said. 

"Say rather the Turkish police. The current in the 
Bosporus is pretty strong, and these sad relics of two 
misguided Dutchmen will be washed up to-morrow 
about Seraglio Point. In this game you must drop 
the curtain neat and pat at the end of each scene, if 
you don't want trouble later with the missing heir and 
the family lawyer." 




I WALKED out of that house next morning with 
Blenkiron's arm in mine, a different being from the 
friendless creature who had looked vainly the day be- 
fore for sanctuary. To begin with, I was splendidly 
dressed. I had a navy-blue suit with square padded 
shoulders, a neat black bow-tie, shoes with a hump at 
the toe, and a brown bowler. Over that I wore a 
greatcoat lined with wolf fur. I had a smart malacca 
cane, and one of Blenkiron's cigars in my mouth. 
Peter had been made to trim his beard, and, dressed in 
unassuming pepper-and-salt, looked with his docile 
eyes and quiet voice a very respectable servant. Old 
Blenkiron had done the job in style, for, if you'll be- 
lieve it, he had brought the clothes all the way from 
London. I realised now why he and Sandy had been 
fossicking in my wardrobe. Peter's suit had been of 
Sandy's procuring, and it was not the fit of mine. I 
had no difficulty about the accent. Any man brought 
up in the colonies can get his tongue round American, 
and I flattered myself I made a very fair shape at the 
lingo of the Middle West. 

The wind had gone to the south and the snow was 
melting fast. There was a blue sky over Asia, and 
away to the north masses of white cloud drifting over 
the Black Sea. What had seemed the day before the 



dingiest of cities now took on a strange beauty, the 
beauty of unexpected horizons and tongues of grey 
water winding below cypress-studded shores. A man's 
mind has a lot to do with the appreciation of scenery. 
I felt a free man once more, and could use my eyes. 

That street was a jumble of every nationality on 
earth. There were Turkish regulars in their queer, 
comical khaki helmets, and wild-looking levies who had 
no kin with Europe. There were squads of Germans 
in flat forage-caps, staring vacantly at novel sights, 
and quick to salute any officer on the side-walk. Turks 
in closed carriages passed, and Turks on good Arab 
horses, and Turks who looked as if they had come out 
of the ark. But it was the rabble that caught the eye — 
a very wild, pinched, miserable rabble. I never in my 
life saw such swarms of beggars, and you walked down 
that street to the accompaniment of entreaties for alms 
in all the tongues of the Tower of Babel. Blenkiron 
and I behaved as if we were interested tourists. We 
would stop and laugh at one fellow and give a penny 
to a second, passing comments in high-pitched Western 

We went into a cafe and had a cup of coffee. A 
beggar came in and asked alms. Hitherto Blenkiron's 
purse had been closed, but now he took out some small 
nickels and planked five down on the table. The man 
cried down blessings and picked up three. Blenkiron 
very swiftly swept the other two into his pocket. 

That seemed to me queer, and I remarked that I 
had never before seen a beggar who gave change. 
Blenkiron said nothing, and presently we moved on 
and came to the harbour-side. 

There were a number of small tugs moored along- 
side, and one or two bigger craft — fruit boat9 I 



judged, which used to ply in the ^Egean. They looked 
pretty well moth-eaten from disuse. We stopped at 
one of them and watched a fellow in a blue nightcap 
splicing ropes. He raised his eyes once and looked at 
us, and then kept on with his business. 

Blenkiron asked him where he came from, but he 
shook his head, not understanding the tongue. A 
Turkish policeman came up and stared at us suspi- 
ciously, till Blenkiron opened his -coat, as if by acci- 
dent, and displayed a tiny square of ribbon, at which 
he saluted. Failing to make conversation with the 
sailor, Blenkiron flung him three of his black cigars. 
"I guess you can smoke, friend, if you can'f talk," he 

The man grinned and caught the three neatly in the 
air. Then to my amazement he tossed one of them 

The donor regarded it quizzically as it lay on the 
pavement. "That boy's a connoisseur of tobacco," he 
said. As we moved away I saw the Turkish police- 
man pick it up and put it inside his cap. 

We returned by the long street on the crest of the 
hill. There was a man selling oranges on a tray, and 
Blenkiron stopped to look at them. I noticed that the 
man shuffled fifteen into a cluster. Blenkiron felt the 
j oranges, as if to see that they were sound, and pushed 
two aside. The man instantly restored them to the 
group, never raising his eyes. 

"This ain't the time of year to buy fruit," said Blen- 
kiron as we passed on. "Those oranges are rotten as 

We were almost on our own doorstep before I 
guessed the meaning of the business. 

"Is your morning's work finished?" I said. 



^*Our morning's walk?" he asked innocently. 

"I said 'work.' " 

He smiled blandly. "I reckoned you'd tumble to 
it. Why, yes, except that I've some figuring still to 
do. Give me half an hour and I'll be at your service, 

That afternoon, after Peter had cooked a wonder- 
fully good luncheon, I had a heart-to-heart talk with 

"My business is to get noos," he said; "and before 
I start on a stunt I make considerable preparations. 
All the time in London when I was yelping at the 
British Government, I was busy with Sir Walter ar- 
ranpng things ahead. We used to meet in queer 
places and at all hours of the night. I fixed up a lot 
of connections in this city before I arrived, and espe- 
cially a noos service with your Foreign Office by way 
of Rumania and Russia. In a day or two I guess our 
friends will know all about our discoveries." 

At that I opened my eyes very wide. 

"Why, yes. You Britishers haven't any notion how 
wide-awake your Intelligence Service is. I reckon 
it's easy the best of all the belligerents. You never 
talked about it in peace time, and you shunned the 
theatrical ways of the Teuton. But you had the wires 
laid good and sure. I calculate there isn't much that 
happens in any corner of the earth that you don't 
know within twenty-four hours. I don't say your 
highbrows use the noos well. I don't take much 
stock in your political push. They're a lot of silver- 
tongues, no doubt, but it ain't oratory that is wanted 
in this racket. The William Jennings Bryan stunt 
languishes in war-time. Politics is like a chicken-coop, 
and those inside get to behave as if their little run 



were all the world. But if the politicians make mis- 
takes it isn't from lack of good instruction to guide 
their steps. If I had a big proposition to handle and 
could have my pick of helpers Fd plump for the Intel- 
ligence Department of the British Admiralty. Yes, 
sir, I take off my hat to your Government sleuths.'* 

"Did they provide you with ready-made spies 
here ?" I asked in astonishment. 

"Why, no,*' he said. "But they gave me the key, 
and I could make my own arrangements. In Ger- 
many I buried myself deep in the local atmosphere, and 
never peeped out. That was my game, for I was 
looking for something in Germany itself, and didn't 
want any foreign cross-bearings. As you know, I 
failed where you succeeded. But so soon as I crossed 
the Danube I set about opening up my lines of com- 
munication, and I hadn't been two days in this metrop- 
olis before I had ^ot my telephone exchange buzzing. 
Sometime I'll explain the thing to you, for it's a pretty 
little business. I've got the cutest cypher. . . . No, it 
ain't my invention. It's your Government's. Any one 
• — ^babe, imbecile, or dotard, can carry my messages — 
you saw some of them to-day — ^but it takes some mind 
to set the piece, and it takes a lot of figuring at my end 
to work out the results. Some day you shall hear it 
all, for I guess it would please you." 

"How do you use it?" I asked. 

"Well, I get early noos of what is going on in this 
cabbage-patch. Likfwise I get authentic noos of the 
rest of Europe, and I can send a message to Mr. X. 
in Petrograd and Mr. Y. in London, or, if I wish, to 
Mr. Z. in Noo York. What's the matter with that 
for a post-office? I'm the best informed man in Con- 
stantinople, for old General Liman only hears one side, 




and mostly lies at that, and Enver prefers not to listen 
at all. Also, I could give them points on what is hap- 
pening at their very door, for our friend Sandy is a 
big boss in the best-run crowd of mountebanks that 
ever fiddled secrets out of men's hearts. Without their 
help I wouldn't have cut much ice in this city." 

"I want you to tell me one thing, Blenkiron," I 
said. "I've been playing a part for the past month, 
and it wears my nerves to tatters. Is this job very 
tiring, for if it is, I doubt I may buckle up." 

He looked thoughtful. "I can't call our business 
an absolute rest-cure any time. You've got to keep 
youir eyes skinned, and there's always the risk of the 
little packet of dynamite going off unexpected. But 
as these things go, I rate this stunt as easy. We've 
only got to be natural. We wear our natural clothes, 
and talk English, and sport a Teddy Roosevelt smile, 
and there isn't any call for theatrical talent. Where 
I've found the job tight was when I had got to be 
natural, and my naturalness was the same brand as 
that of everybody round about, and all the time I 
had to do unnatural things. It isn't easy to be going 
down town to business and taking cocktails with Mr. 
Carl Rosenheim, and next hour being engaged trying 
to blow Mr. Rosenheim's friends sky high. And it 
isn't easy to keep up a part which is clean outside your 
ordinary life. I've never tried that. My stunt has 
always been to keep my normal personality. But you 
have, Major, and I guess you found it wearing." 

"Wearing's a mild word," I said. "But I want 
to know another thing. It seems to me that the line 
you've picked is as good as could be. But it's a cast- 
iron line. It commits us pretty deep and it won't be a 
simple job to drop it." 



"Why, that's just the point I was coming to/' he 
said. "I was going to put you wise about that very 
thing. When I started out I figured on some situation 
like this. I argued that unless I had a very clear part 
with a big bluff in it I wouldn't get the confidences 
which I needed. We've got to be at the heart of the 
show, taking a real hand and not just looking on. So 
I settled I would be a big engineer — there was a time 
when there weren't many bigger in the United States 
than John S. Blenkiron. I talked large about what 
might be done in Mesopotamia in the way of washing 
the British down the river. Well, that talk caught on. 
They knew of my reputation as an hydraulic expert, 
and they were tickled to death to rope me in. I told 
them I wanted a helper, and I told them about my 
friend Richard Hanau, as good a German as ever 
supped sauerkraut, who was coming through Russia and 
Rumania as a benevolent neutral; but when he got to 
Constantinople would drop his neutrality and double 
his benevolence. They got reports on you by wire 
from the States — ^I arranged that before I left London. 
So you're going to be welcomed and taken to their 
bosoms just like John S. was. We've both got jobs 
we can hold down, and now you're in these pretty 
clothes you're the dead ringer of the brightest kind of 
American engineer. . . . But we can't go back on our 
tracks. If we wanted to leave for Constanza next 
week they'd be very polite, but they'd never let us. 
We've got to go on with this adventure and nose our 
way down into Mesopotamia, hoping that our luck will 
hold. . . . God knows how we will get out of it ; but 
it's no good going out to meet trouble. As I observed 
before, I believe in an all-wise and beneficent Provi- 
dence, but you've got to give Him a chance." 



I am bound to confess the prospect staggered me. 
We might be let in for fighting — and worse than fight- 
ing — against our own side. I wondered if it wouldn't 
be better to make a bolt for it, and said so. 

He shook liis head. *'I reckon not. In the first 
place we haven't finished our inquiries. We've got 
Greenmantle located right enough, thanks to you, but 
we still know mighty little about that holy man. In 
the second place it won't be as bad as you think. This 
show lacks cohesion, sir. It is not going to last for 
ever. I calculate that before you and I strike the site 
of the garden that Adam and Eve frequented there 
will be a queer turn of affairs. Anyhow, it's good 
enough to gamble on." 

Then he got some sheets of paper and drew me a 
plan of the disposition of the Turkish forces. I had 
no notion he was such a close student of war, for his 
exposition was as good as a staff lecture. He made 
out that the situation was none too bright anywhere. 
The troops released from Gallipoli wanted a lot of 
refitment, and would be slow in reaching the Trans- 
caucasian frontier, where the Russians were threaten- 
ing. The Army of Syria was pretty nearly a rabble 
under the lunatic Djemal. There wasn't the foggiest 
chance of an invasion of Egypt being undertaken. 
Only in Mesopotamia did things look fairly cheerful, 
owing to the blunders of British strategy. "And you 
may take it from me," he said, "that if the old Turk 
mobilised a total of a million men, he has lost 40 per 
cent, of them already. And if I'm anything of a 
prophet he's going pretty soon to lose more." 

He tore up the papers and enlarged on politics. 
"I reckon I've got the measure of the Young Turks 
and their precious Committee^ Those boys aren't any 



good. Enver's bright enough, and for sure he's got 
sand. He'll stick out a fight like a Vermont game- 
chicken, but he lacks the larger vision, sir. He doesn't 
understand die intricacies of the job no more than a 
sucking-child, so the Germans play with him, till his 
temper goes and he bucks like a mule. Talaat is a 
sulky dog who wants to go for mankind with a club. 
Both these boys would have made good cow-punchers 
in the old days, and they might have got a living out 
West as the gun-men- of a Labour Union. They're 
about the class of Jesse James or Bill the Kid, except- 
ing that they're college-reared and can patter lan- 
guages. But they haven't the organising power to 
manage the Irish vote in a ward election. Their one 
notion is to get busy with their firearms, and people are 
getting tired of the Black Hand stunt. Their hold on 
the country is just the hold that a man with a Browning 
has over a crowd with walking-sticks. The cooler 
heads in the Committee are growing shy of them, and 
an old fox like Djavid is lying low till his time comes. 
Now it doesn't want arguing that a gang of that kind 
has got to hang close together or they may hang sepa- 
rately. They've got no grip on the ordinary Turk, 
barring the fact that they are active and he is sleepy, 
and that they've got their guns loaded." 

"What about the Germans here?" I asked. 

Blenklron laughed. "It is no sort of a happy family. 
But the Young Turks know that without the German 
boost they'll be strung up hke Haman, and the Ger- 
mans can't afiord to neglect any ally. Consider what 
would happen if Turkey got sick of the game and made 
a separate peace. The road would be open for Russia 
to the ^gean. Ferdy of Bulgaria would take his de- 
preciated goods to the other market, and not waste a 



day thinking about it. You'd have Rumania coming 
in on the Allies' side. Things would look pretty black 
for that control of the Near East on which Germany 
has banked her winnings. Kaiser says that's got to be 
prevented at all costs, but how is it going to be done ?" 

Blenkiron's face had become very solemn again. "It 
won't be done unless Germany's got a trump card to 
play. Her game's mighty near bust, but it's still got a 
chance. And that chance is a woman and an old man. 
I reckon our landlady has a bigger brain than Enver 
and Liman. She's the real boss of the show. When 
I came here I reported to her, and presently you've 
got to do the same. I am curious as to how she'll 
strike you, for I'm free to admit that she impressed me 

"It looks as if our job was a long way from the 
end," I said. 

"It's scarcely begun," said Blenldron. 

That talk did a lot to cheer my spirits, for I realised 
that it was the biggest of big game we were hunting 
this time. I'm an economical soul, and if I'm going to 
be hanged I want a good stake for my neck. 

Then began some varied experiences. I used to 
wake up in the morning, wondering where I should 
be at night, and yet quite pleased at the uncertainty. 
Greenmantle became a sort of myth with me. Some- 
how I couldn't fix any idea in my head of what he was 
like. The nearest I got was a picture of an old man 
in a turban coming out of a bottle in a cloud of smoke, 
which I remembered from a child's edition of the 
Arabian Nights. But if he was dim, the lady was 
dimmer. Sometimes I thought of her as a fat old 
German crone, sometiipes as a harsh-featured woman 



like a schoolmistress with thin lips and eyeglasses. 
But I had to fit the Past into the picture, so I made 
her young and gave her a touch of the languid houri 
in a veil. I was always wanting to pump Blenkiron on 
the subject, but he shut up like a rat-trap. He was 
looking for bad trouble in that direction, and was dis- 
inclined to speak about it beforehand. 

We led a peaceful existence. Our servants were 
two of Sandy's lot, for Blenkiron had very rightly 
cleared out the Turkish caretakers, and they worked 
like beavers under Peter's eye, till I reflected I had 
never been so well looked after in my life. I walked 
about the city with Blenkiron, keeping my eyes open, 
and speaking very civil. The third night we were 
bidden to dinner at MocUendorff's, bo we put on our 
best clothes and set out in an ancient cab. Blenkiron 
had fetched a dress suit of mine, from which my own 
tailor's label had been cut and a New York one 

General Liman and Mettemich the Ambassador 
had gone up the line to Nish to meet the Kaiser, who 
was touring in those parts^ so Moellendorff was the 
biggest German in the city. He was a thin, foxy- 
faced fellow, cleverish but monstrously vain, and he 
was not very popular either with the Germans or the 
Turks. He was very polite to both of us,, but I am 
bound to say that I got a bad fright when I entered 
the room, for the first man I saw was Gaudian. 

I doubt if he would have recognised me even in 
the clothes I had worn in Stumm's company, for his 
eyesight was wretched. As it was, I ran no risk in 
dress-clothes, with my hair brushed back and a fine 
American accent. I paid him high compliments as a 
fellow engineer, and translated part of a highly tech- 


nical conversation between him and Blenkiron. 
Gaudian was in uniform, and I liked the look of his 
honest face better than ever. 

But the great event was the sight of Enver. He 
was a slim fellow of Rasta^s build, very foppish and 
precise in his dress, with a smooth oval face like a 
girl's, and rather fine straight black eyebrows. He 
spoke perfect German, and had the best kind of man- 
ners, neither pert nor overbearing. He had a pleasant 
trick, too, of appealing all round the table for con- 
firmation, and so bringing everybody into the talk. 
Not that he spoke a great deal, but all he said was 
good sense, and he had a smiling way of saying it. 
Once or twice he ran counter to Moellendorff, and I 
could see there was no love lost between these two, 
I didn't think I wanted him as a friend — he was too 
cold-blooded and artificial; and I was pretty certain 
that I didn't want those steady black eyes as an enemy. 
But it was no good denying his quality. The little 
fellow was all cold courage, like the fine polished blue 
steel of a sword. 

I fancy I was rather a success at that dinner. For 
one thing I could speak German, and so had a pull on 
Blenkiron. For another I was in a good temper, and 
really enjoyed putting my back into my part. They 
talked very high-flown stuff about what they had done 
and were going to do, and Enver was great on Gal- 
lipoli. I remember he said that he could have de- 
stroyed the whole British Army if it hadn't been for 
somebody's cold feet — ^at which Moellendorff looked 
daggers. They were so bitter about Britain and all 
her works that I gathered they were getting pretty 
panicky, and that made me as jolly as a sandboy. I'm 
afraid I was not free from bitterness myself on that 




subject. I said things about my own country that I 
sometimes wake in the night and sweat to think of. 

Gaudian got on the use of water power in war, and 
that gave me a chance. 

"In my country," I said, "when we want to get rid 
of a mountain we wash it away. There's nothing on 
earth that will stand against water. Now, speaking 
with all respect, gentlemen, and as an absolute novice 
in the military art, I sometimes ask why this God- 
given weapon isn't more used in the present war. I 
haven't been to any of the fronts, but I've studied them 
some from maps and the newspapers. Take your 
German position in Flanders, where you've got the 
high ground. If I were a British general I reckon I 
would very soon make it no sort of position." 

Moellendorff asked, "How?" 

"Why, I'd wash it away. Wash away the four* 
teen feet of soil down to the stone. There's a heap 
of coalpits behind the British front where they could 
generate power, and I judge there's an ample water 
supply from rivers and canals. I'd guarantee to wash 
you away in twenty-four hours — ^yes, in spite of all 
your big guns. It beats me why the British haven't 
got on to this notion. They used to have some bright 

Enver was on the point like a knife, far quicker 
than Gaudian. He cross-examined me in a way that 
showed he knew how to approach a technical subject, 
though he mightn't have much technical knowledge. 
He was just giving me a sketch of the flooding in 
Mesopotamia when an aide-de-camp brought in a chit 
which fetched him to his feet. 

"I have gossiped long enough," he said. "My kind 



host, I must leave you. Gentlemen all, my apologies 
and farewells." 

Before he left he asked my name and wrote it down. 
"This is an unhealthy city for strangers, Mr. Hanau," 
he said in very good English. ''I have some small 
power of protecting a friend, and what I have is at 
your disposal." This with the condescension of a king 
promising his favour to a subject. 

The little fellow amused me tremendously, and 
rather impressed me too. I said so to Gaudian after 
he had left, but that decent soul didn't agree. 

"I do not love him," he said. "We are Allies — yes; 
but friends — ^no. He is no true son of Islam, which 
is a noble faith and which despise^ liars and boasters 
and betrayers of their salt." 

That was the verdict of one honest man on this 
ruler in Israel. The next night I got another from 
Blenkiron on a greater than Enver. 

He had. been out alone and had come back pretty 
late, with his face grey and drawn with pain. The 
food we ate — ^not at all bad of its kind — and die cold 
east wind played havoc with his dyspepsia. I can 
see him yet, boiling milk on a spirit-lamp, while Peter 
worked at a Primus stove to get him a hot-water bottle. 
He was using horrid language about his inside. 

"My God, Major, if I were you with a sound stom- 
ach I'd fairly conquer the world. As it is, I've got to 
do my work with half my mind, while the other half is 
dwelling in my intestines. I'm like the child in the 
Bible that had a fox gnawing at its vitals." 

He got his milk boiling and began to sip it. 

"I've been to see our pretty landlady," he said. 
"She sent for me and I hobbled oflF with a grip full of 
plans, for she's mighty set on Mesopotamy." 



"Anything about Greenmantle ?" I asked eagerly. 

"Why, no, but I have reached one conclusion. I 
opine that the hapless prophet has no sort of time with 
that lady. I opine that he will soon wish himself in 
Paradise. For if Almighty God created a female 
devil it's Madame von Einem." 

He sipped a little more milk with a grave face. 

"That isn't my duo-denal dyspepsia. Major. It's 
the verdict of a ripe experience, for I have a cool and 
penetrating judgment, even if I've a deranged stomach. 
And I give it 3s my con-sidered conclusion that that 
woman's mad arid bad — ^but principally bad." 




SINCE that first night I had never clapped eyes on 
Sandy. He had gone clean out of the world, and 
Blenkiron and I waited anxiously for a word of news. 
Our own business was in good trim, for we were pres- 
ently going east towards Mesopotamia, but unless we 
learned more about Greenmantle our journey would 
be a grotesque failure. And learn about Greenmantle 
we could not, for nobody by word or deed suggested 
his existence, and it was impossible of course for us to 
ask questions. Our only hope was Sandy, for what 
we wanted to know was the prophet^s whereabouts and 
his plans. I suggested to Blenkiron that we might do 
more to cultivate Frau von Einem, but he shut his jaw 
like a rat-trap. "There's nothing doing for us in that 
quarter," he said. "That's the most dangerous woman 
on earth; and if she got any kind of notion that we 
were wise about her pet schemes I reckon you and I 
would very soon be in the Bosporus." 

This was all very well ; but what was going to hap- 
pen if the two of us were bundled off to Bagdad with 
instructions to wash away the British? Our time was 
getting pretty short, and I doubted if we could spin 
out more than three days more in Constantinople. I 
felt just as I had felt with Stumm that last night when 
I was about to be packed off to Cairo and saw no way 



of avoiding it. Even Blenkiron was getting anxious. 
He played Patience incessantly, and was disinclined 
to talk. I tried to find out something from the serv- 
ants, but they either knew nothing or wouldn't speak — 
the former, I think. I kept my eyes lifting, too, as I 
walked about the streets, but there was no sign any- 
where of the skin coats or the weird stringed instru- 
ments. The whole company of the Rosy Hours 
seemed to have melted into the air, and I began to 
wonder if they had ever existed. 

Anxiety made me restless, and restlessness made me 
want exercise. It was no good walking about the city. 
The weather had become foul again, and I was sick 
of the smells and the squalor and the flea-bitten crowds. 
So Blenkiron and I got horses, Turkish cavalry mounts 
with heads like trees, and went out through the sub- 
urbs into the open country. 

It was a grey drizzling afternoon, with the begin- 
nings of a sea fog which hid the Asiatic shores of the 
straits. It wasn't easy to find open ground for a 
gallop, for there were endless small patches of culti- 
vation, and the gardens of country houses. We kept 
on the high land above the sea, and when we reached 
a bit of downland came on squads of Turkish soldiers 
digging trenches. Whenever we let the horses go we 
had to pull up sharp for a digging party or a stretch 
of barbed wire. Coils of the beastly wire were lying 
loose everywhere, and Blenkiron nearly took a nasty 
toss over one. Then we were always being stopped 
by sentries and having to show our passes. Still the 
ride did us good and shook up our livers, and by the 
time we turned for home I was feeling more like a 
white man. 

We jogged back in the short winter twilight, past 




the wooded grounds of white villas, held up every 
few minutes by transport-waggons and companies of 
soldiers. The rain had come on in real earnest, and 
it was two very bedraggled horsemen that crawled 
along the muddy lanes. As we passed one villa, shut 
in by a high white wall, a pleasant smell of wood 
smoke was wafted towards us, which made me sick 
for the burning veld. My ear, too, caught the twang- 
ing of a zither, which somehow reminded me of the 
afternoon in Kuprasso's garden-house. 

I pulled up and proposed to investigate, but Blen- 
kiron very testily declined. 

''Zithers are as common here as fleas,'' he said. 
"You don't want to be fossicking around somebody's 
stables and find a horse-boy entertaining his friends. 
They don't like visitors in this country; and you'll 
be asking for trouble if you go inside those walls. I 
guess it's some old Buzzard's harem." Buzzard was 
his own private peculiar name for the Turk, for he 
said he had had as a boy a natural history book with 
a picture of a bird called the turkey-buzzard, and 
couldn't get out of the habit of applying it to the Otto- 
man people. 

I wasn't convinced, so I tried to mark down the 
place. It seemed to be about three miles out from 
the city, at the end of a steep lane on the inland 
side of the hill coming from the Bosporus. I fancied 
somebody of distinction lived there, for a little farther 
on we met a big empty motor-car snorting its way up, 
and I had a notion that car belonged to the walled 

Next day Blenkiron was in grievous trouble with 
his dyspepsia. About midday he was compelled to 
lie down, and having nothing better tp do I bad out 



the horses again and took Peter with me. It was 
funny to see Peter in a Turkish army-saddle, riding 
with the long Boer stirrup and the slouch of the back- 

That afternoon was unfortunate from the start. 
It was not the mist and drizzle of the day before, 
but a stiff northern gale which blew sheets of rain 
in our faces and numbed our bridle hands. We took 
the same road, but pushed west of the trench-digging 
parties and got to a shallow valley with a white vil- 
lage among cypresses. Beyond that there was a very 
respectable road which brought us to the top of a 
crest which in clear weather must have given a fine 
prospect. Then we turned our horses, and I shaped 
our course so as to strike the top of the long lane 
that abutted on the down. I wanted to investigate 
the white villa. 

But we hadn't gone far on our road back before 
we got into trouble. It arose out of a sheep-dog, a 
yellow mongrel brute that came at us like a thunder- 
bolt. It took a special fancy to Peter, and bit sav- 
agely at his horse's heels and sent it capering oS the 
road. I should have warned him, but I did not realise 
what was happening till too late. For Peter, being 
a<:customed to mongrels in Kaffir kraals, took a sum- 
mary way with the pest. Since it despised his whip, 
he out with his pistol and put a bullet through its 

The echoes of the shot had scarcely died away when 
the row began. A big fellow appeared running to- 
wards us, shouting wildly. I guessed it was the dog's 
owner, and proposed to pay no attention. But his 
cries summoned two other fellows — soldiers by the 
look of them — ^who closed in on us» unslinging their 




rifles as they ran. My first idea was to show them our 
heels, but I had no desire to be shot in the back, and 
they looked like men who wouldn't stop short of shoot- 
ing. So we slowed down and faced them. 

They made as savage-looking a trio as you would 
want to avoid. The shepherd looked as if he had 
been dug up, a dirty ruffian with matted hair and a 
beard like a bird's nest. The two soldiers stood star- 
ing with sullen faces, fingering their guns, while the 
other chap raved and stormed and kept pointing at 
Peter, whose mild eyes stared unwinkingly at his 

The mischief was that neither of us had a word 
of Turkish. I tried German, but it had no effect. 
We sat looking at them, and they stood storming at 
us, and it was fast getting dark. Once I turned my 
horse round as if to proceed, and the two soldiers 
jumped in front of me. 

They jabbered among themselves, and then one said 
very slowly: "He . . . want . . . pounds," and he 
held up five fingers. They evidently saw by the cut 
of our jib that we weren't Germans. 

"I'll be hanged if he gets a penny," I said angrily, 
and the conversation languished. 

The situation was getting serious, so I spoke a word 
to Peter. The soldiers had their rifles loose in their 
hands, and before they could lift them we had the pair 
covered with our pistols. 

"If you move," I said, "you are dead." They 
understood that all right and stoo^ stock still, while 
the shepherd stopped his raving and took to mutter- 
ing like a gramaphone when the record is finished. 

"Drop your guns," I said sharply. "Quick, or we 




The tone, if not the words, conveyed my meaning. 
Still staring at us, they let the rifles slide to the ground. 
The next second we had forced our horses on the 
top of them, and the three were oflF like rabbits. I 
sent a shot over their heads to encourage them. Peter 
dismounted and tossed the guns into a bit of scrub 
where they would take some finding. 

This hold-up had taken time. By now it was get- 
ting very dark, and we hadn't ridden a mile before 
it was black night. It was an annoying predicament, 
for I had completely lost my bearings and at the best 
I had only a foggy notion of the lie of the land. The 
best plan seemed to be to try and get to the top of 
a rise in the hope of seeing the lights of the city, but 
all the countryside was so pockety that it was hard 
to strike the right kind of rise. 

We had to trust to Peter's instinct. I asked him 
where our line lay, and he sat very still for a minute 
sniffing the air. Then he pointed the direction. It 
wasn't what I would have taken myself, but on a point 
like that he was pretty near infallible. 

Presently we came to a long slope which cheered 
me. But at the top there was no light visible any- 
where — only a black void like the inside of a shell. 
As I stared into the gloom it seemed to' me that 
there were patches of deeper darkness that might be 

"There is a house half-left in front of us," said 

I peered till my eyes ached and saw nothing. 

"Well, for Heaven's sake, guide me to it," I said, 
and with Peter in front we set off down the hill. 

It was a wild journey, for darkness clung as close 
to us as a vest. Twice we stepped into patches of 



bog, and once my horse saved himself by a hair from 
going head forward into a gravel pit. We got 
tangled up in strands of wire, and often found our- 
selves rubbing our noses against tree trunks. Several 
times I had to get down and make a gap in barricades 
of loose stones. But after a ridiculous amount of 
slipping and stumbling we finally struck what seemed 
the level of a road, and a piece of special darkness 
in front which turned out to be a high wall. 

I argued that all mortal walls had doors, so we set 
to groping along it, and presently struck a gap. There 
was an old iron gate, on broken hinges, which we 
easily pushed open, and found ourselves on a back 
path to some house. It was clearly disused, for masses 
of rotting leaves covered it, and by the feel of it 
underfoot it was grass-grown. 

We were dismounted now, leading our horses, and 
after about fifty yards the path ceased and came out 
on a well-made carriage drive. So, at least, we 
guessed, for the place was as black as pitch. Evi- 
dently the house couldn't be far off, but in which 
direction I hadn't a notion. 

Now I didn't want to be paying calls on any Turk 
at that time of day. Our job was to find where the 
road opened into the lane, for after that our way to 
Constantinople was clear. One side the lane lay, and 
the other the house, and it didn't seem wise to take 
the risk of tramping up with horses to the front door. 
So I told Peter to wait for me at the end of the back- 
road, while I would prospect a bit. I turned to the 
right, my intention being if I saw the light of a house 
to return, and with Peter take the other direction. 

I walked like a blind man in that nether-pit of dark- 
ness. The road seemed well kept, and the soft wet 



gravel muffled the sounds of my feet. Great trees 
overhung it, and several times I wandered into drip- 
ping bushes. And then I stopped short in my tracks, 
for I heard the sound of whistling. 

It was quite close, about ten yards away. And the 
strange thing was that it was a tunc I knew, about 
the last tune you would expect to hear in this part 
of the world. It was the Scotch air: "Ca' the yowes 
to the knowes," which was a favourite of my father's. 

The whistler must have felt my presence, for the 
air suddenly stopped in the middle of a bar. An un- 
bounded curiosity seized me to know who the fellow 
could be. So I started in and finished it myself. 

There was silence for a second, and then the un- 
known began again and stopped. Once more I chipped 
in and finished it. 

Then it seemed to me that he was coming nearer. 
The air in that dank tunnel was very still, and I thought 
I heard a light foot. I think I took a step backward. 
Suddenly there was a flash of an electric torch from 
a yard off, so quick that I could see nothing of the 
man who held it. 

' Then a low voice spoke out of the darkness — a voice 
I knew well — and, following it, a hand was laid on 
my arm. "What the devil are you doing here, Dick?'* 
it said, and there was something like consternation 
in the tone. 

I told him in a hectic sentence, for I was beginning 
to feel badly rattled myself. 

"You've never been in greater danger in your life," 
said the voice. "Great God, man, what brought you 
wandering here to-day of all days ?" 

You can imagine that I was pretty scared, for 
Sandy was the last man to put a case too high. And 



the next second I felt worse, for he clutched my arm 
and dragged me in a bound to the side of the road. 
I could see nothing, but I felt that his head was 
screwed round, and mine followed suit. And there, 
a dozen yards off, were the acetylene lights of a big 

It came along very slowly, purring like a great cat, 
while we pressed into the bushes. The head-lights 
seemed to spread a fan far to either side, showing 
the full width of the drive and its borders, and about 
half the height of the over-arching trees. There was 
a figure in uniform sitting beside the chauffeur, whom 
I saw dimly in the reflex glow, but the body of the 
car was dark. 

It crept towards us, passed, and my mind was just 
getting easy again when it stopped. A switch was 
snapped within, and the limousine was brightly lit 
up. Inside I saw a woman's figure. 

The servant had got out and opened the door and 
a voice came from within — a clear soft voice speaking 
in some tongue I did not understand. Sandy had 
started forward at the sound of it, and I followed 
him. It would never do for me to be caught skulking 
in the bushes. 

I was so dazzled by the suddenness of the glare 
that at first I blinked and saw nothing. Then my 
eyes cleared and I found myself looking at the inside 
of a car upholstered in some soft dove-coloured 
fabric, and beautifully finished off in ivory and silver. 
The woman who sat in it had a mantilla of black 
lace over her head and shoulders, and with one slender 
jewelled hand she kept its folds over the greater part 
of her face. I saw only a pair of pale grey-blue 
eyes — ^these and the slim fingers. 



I remember that Sandy was standing very upright 
with his hands on his hips, by no means like a servant 
in the presence of his mistress. He was a fine figure 
of a man at all times, but in those wild clothes, with 
his head thrown back and his dark brows drawn below 
his skull-cap, he looked like some savage king out of 
an older world. He was speaking Turkish, and glanc- 
ing at me now and then as if angry and perplexed. I 
took the hint that he was not supposed to know any 
other tongue, and that he was asking who the devil 
I might be. 

Then they both looked at me, Sandy with the slow 
unwinking staje of the gipsy, the lady with those 
curious beautiful pale eyes. They ran over my clothes, 
my brand-new riding-breeches, my splashed gaiters, 
my wide-brimmed hat. I took off the last and made 
my best bow. 

"Madam," I said, "I have to ask pardon for tres- 
passing in your garden. The fact is, I and my serv- 
ant — ^he's down the road with the horses and I guess 
you noticed him — the two of us went for a ride thi» 
afternoon, and got good and well lost. We came in 
by your back gate, and I was prospecting for your 
front door to find some one to direct us, when I 
bumped into this brigand-chief who didn't understand 
my talk. Fm American, and I'm here on a big Gov- 
ernment proposition. I hate to trouble you, but if 
you'd send a man to show us how to strike the city 
I'd be very much in your debt." 

Her eyes never left my face. "Will you come into 
the car?" she said in English. "At the house I will 
give you a servant to direct you." 

She drew in the skirts of her fur cloak to make roam 
for me, and in my muddy boots and sopping clothes 



I took the seat she pointed out. She said a word in 
Turkish to Sandy, switched off the light, and the car 
moved on. 

Women have never come much my way, and I knew 
about as much of their ways as I knew about the 
Chinese language. All my life I have lived with men 
only, and rather a rough crowd at that. When I made 
my pile and came home I looked to see a little society, 
but I had first the business of the Black Stone on my 
hands, and then the war, so my education languished. 
I had never been in a motor-car with a lady before, 
and I felt like a fish on a dry sandbank. The soft 
cushions and the subtle scents filled me with acute un- 
easiness. I wasn't thinking now about Sandy's grave 
words, or about Blenkiron's warning, or about my job 
and the part this woman must play in it, I was think- 
ing only that I felt mortally shy. The darkness made 
it worse. I was sure that my companion was looking 
at me all the time and laughing at me for a clown. 

The car stopped and a tall servant opened the door. 
The lady was over the threshold before I was at the 
step. I followed her heavily, the wet squelching from 
my field-boots. At that moment I noticed that she 
was very tall. 

She led me through a long corridor to a room where 
two pillars held lamps in the shape of torches. The 
place was dark but for their glow, and it was as warm 
as a hothouse from invisible stoves. I felt soft carpets 
underfoot, and on the walls hung some tapestry or rug 
of an amazingly intricate geometrical pattern, but 
with every strand as rich as jewels. There, between 
the pillars, she turned and faced me. Her furs were 
thrown back, and the black mantilla had slipped down 
to her shoulders. 



"I have heard of you," she said. "You are called 
Richard Hanau, the American. Why have you come 
to this land?" 

"To have a share in the campaign," I said. "Fm 
an engineer, and I thought I could help out with some 
business like Mesopotamia." 

"You are on Germany's Side?" she asked. 

"Why, yes," I replied. "We Americans are sup- 
posed to be nootrals, and that means we're free to 
choose any side we fancy. I'm for the Kaiser." 

Her cool eyes searched me, but not in suspicion. 
I could see she wasn't troubling with the question 
whether I was speaking the truth. She was sizing 
me up as a man. I cannot describe that calm apprais- 
ing look. There was no sex in it, nothing even of that 
implicit sympathy with which one human being ex- 
plores the existence of another. I was a chattel, a 
thing infinitely removed from intimacy. Even so I 
have myself looked at a horse which I thought of buy- 
ing, scanning his shoulders and hocks and paces. Even 
so must the old lords of Constantinople have looked 
at the slaves which the chances of war brought to 
their markets, assessing their usefulness for some task 
or other with no thought of a humanity common to 
purchased and purchaser. And yet — ^not quite. This 
woman's eyes were weighing me, not for any special 
duty, but for my essential qualities. I felt that I was 
under the scrutiny of one who was a connoisseur in 
human nature. 

I see I have written that I knew nothing about 
women. But every man has in his bones a conscious- 
ness of sex. I was shy and perturbed, but horribly 
fascinated. This slim woman, poised exquisitely like 
some statue between the pillared lights, with her fair 



cloud of hair, her long delicate face, and her pale 
bright eyes, had the glamour of a wild dream. I 
hated her instinctively, hated her intensely, but I longed 
to arouse her interest. To be valued coldly by those 
eyes was an offence to my manhood, and I felt antag- 
onism rising within me. I am a strong fellow, well 
set up, and rather above the average height, and 
my irritation stiffened me from heel to crown. I flung 
my head back and gave her cool glance for cool glance, 
pride against pride. 

Once, I remember, a doctor on board ship who dab- 
bled in hypnotism told me that I was the most im- 
sympathetic person he had ever struck. He said I 
was about as good a mesmeric subject as Table Moun- 
tain. Suddenly I began to realise that this woman was 
trying to cast some spell over me. The eyes grew 
large and luminous, and I was conscious for just an 
instant of some will battling to subject mine. I was 
aware, too, in the same moment of a strange scent 
which recalled that wild hour in Kuprasso's garden- 
house. It passed quickly, and for a second her eyes 
drooped. I seemed to read in them failure, and yet 
a kind of satisfaction too, as if they had found more 
in me than they expected. 

"What life have you led?" the soft voice was 

I was able to answer quite naturally, rather to my 
surprise. "I have been a mining engineer up and 
down the world.'* 

"You have faced danger many times?" 

"I have faced danger." 

"You have fought against men in battles?" 

"I have fought in battles," 

Her bosom rose and fell in a kind of sigh. A 



smile — a very beautiful thing — flitted over her face. 
She gave me her hand. 

"The horses are at the door now," she said, "and 
your servant is with them. One of my people will 
guide you to the city." 

She turned away and passed out of the circle of 
light into the darkness beyond. . . . 

Peter and I jogged home in the rain with one of 
Sandy's skin-clad Companions loping at our sides. 
We did not speak a word, for my thoughts were run- 
ning like hounds on the track of the past hours. I 
had seen the mysterious Hilda von Einem, I had 
spoken to her, I had held her hand. She had insulted 
me with the subtlest of insults and yet I was not angry. 
Suddenly the game I was playing became invested 
with a tremendous solemnity. My old antagonists, 
Stumm and Rasta and the whole German Empire, 
seemed to shrink into the background, leaving only 
the slim woman with her inscrutable smile and de- 
vouring eyes. "Mad and bad," Blenkiron had called 
her, "but principally bad." I did not think they were 
the proper terms, for they belonged to the narrow 
world of our common experience. This was some- 
thing beyond and above it, as a cyclone or an earth- 
quake is outside the decent routine of nature. Mad 
and bad she might be, but she was also great. 

Before we arrived our guide had plucked my knee 
and spoken some words which he had obviously got 
by heart. "The Master says," ran the message, "ex- 
pect him at midnight." 




I WAS soaked to the bone, and while Peter set off 
to look for dinner, I went to my room to change. 
I had a rub down and then got into pyjamas for some 
dumb-bell exercises with two chairs, for that long wet 
ride had stiffened my arms and shoulder muscles. 
They were a vulgar suit of primitive blue, which 
Blenkiron had looted from my London wardrobe. 
As Cornelis Brandt I had sported a flannel night- 

My bedroom opened off the sitting-room, and while 
I was busy with my gymnastics I heard the door 
open. I thought at first it was Blenkiron, but the 
briskness of the tread was unlike his measured gait. 
I had left the light burning there, and the visitor, 
whoever he was, had made himself at home. I slipped 
on a green dressing-gown Blenkiron had lent me, and 
sallied forth to investigate. 

My friend Rasta was standing by the table, on 
which he had laid an envelope. He looked round at 
my entrance and saluted. 

**I come from the Minister of War, sir," he said, 
"and bring your passports for to-morrow. You will 
travel by . . ." And then his voice tailed away and 
his black eyes narrowed to slits. He had seen some- 
thing which switched him off the metals. 



At that moment I saw it too. There was a mirror 
on the wall behind him, and as I faced him I could 
not help seeing my reflection. It was the exact 
image of the engineer on the Danube boat — blue jeans, 
loden cloak, and all. The accursed mischance of my 
costume had ]^ven him the clue to an identity which 
was otherwise buried deep in the Bosporus. 

I am bound to say for Rasta that he was a man of 
quick action. In a trice he had whipped round to 
the other side of the table between me and the door, 
where he stood regarding me wickedly. 

By this time I was at the table and stretched out 
a hand for the envelope. My one hope was non- 

"Sit down, sir," I said, "and have a drink. It's a 
filthy night to move about in." 

"Thank you, no, Herr Brandt," he said. "You 
may burn those passports, for they will not be used." 

"Whatever's the matter with you?" I cried. 
"You've mistaken the house, my lad. I'm called 
Hanau — Richard Hanau — and my partner's Mr. John 
S. Blenkiron. He'll be here presently. Never knew 
any one of the name of Brandt, barring a tobacconist 
in Denver City." 

"You have never been to Rustchuk?" he said with 
a sneer. 

"Not that I know of. But, pardon me, sir, if I 
ask your name and your business here. I'm darned 
if I'm accustomed to be called by Dutch names or 
have my word doubted. In my country we consider 
that impolite as between gentlemen." 

I could see that my bluff was having its effect. His 
stare began to waver, and when he next spoke it was 
in a more civil tone. 



"I will ask pardon if I'm mistaken, sir, but youVe 
the image of a man who a week ago was at Rust- 
chuk, a man much wanted by the Imperial Govern- 

"A week ago I was tossing in a dirty little hooker 
coming from Constanza. Unless Rustchuk's in the 
middle of the Black Sea I've never visited the town- 
ship. I guess you're barking up the wrong tree. Cdme 
to think of it, I was expecting passports. Say, do you 
come from Enver Damad?" 

"I have that honour," he said. 

"Well, Enver is a very good friend of mine. He's 
the brightest citizen I've struck this side of the 

The man was calming down, and in another minute 
his suspicions would have gone. But at that moment, 
by the crookedest \ufld of luck, Peter entered with 
a tray of dishes. He did not notice Rasta, and walked 
straight to the table and plumped down his burden 
on it. The Turk had stepped aside at his entrance, and 
I saw by the look in his eyes that his suspicions had 
become a certainty. For Peter, stripped to shirt and 
breeches, was the identical shabby little companion of 
the Rustchuk meeting. 

I had never doubted Rasta's pluck. He jumped 
for the door and had a pistol out in a trice pointing 
at my head. 

^^Bonne fortune^^^ he cried. "Both the birds at one 
shot." His hand was on the latch, and his mouth 
was open- to cry. I guessed there was an orderly 
waiting on the stairs. 

He had what you call the strategic advantage, for 
he was at the door while I was at the other end of 
the table and Peter at the side of it at least two yards 



from him. The road was clear before him, and 
neither of us was armed. I made a despairing step 
forward, not knowing what I meant to do, for I saw 
no light. But Peter was before me. 

He had never let go of the tray, and now, as a 
bpy skims a stone on a pond, he skimmed it with its 
contents at Rasta's head. The man was opening the 
door with one hand while he kept me covered with 
the other, and he got the contrivance fairly in the 
face. A pistol shot cracked out, and the bullet went 
through the tray, but the noise was drowned in the 
crash of glasses and crockery. The next second Peter 
had wrenched the pistol from Rasta's hand and had 
gripped his throat. 

A dandified young Turk, brought up in Paris and 
finished in Berlin, may be as brave as a lion, but he 
cannot stand in a rough-and-tumble against a backveld 
hunter, though more than double his age. There was 
no need for me to help. Peter had his own way, 
learned in a wild school, of knocking the sense out of 
a foe. He gagged him scientifically, and trussed him 
up with his own belt and two straps from a trunk in 
my bedroom. 

''This man is too dangerous to let go,'' he said, as 
if his procedure were the most ordinary thing in the 
world. "He will be quiet now till we have time to 
make a plan.'' 

At that moment there came a knocking at the door. 
That is the sort of thing that happens in melodrama, 
just when the villain has finished off his job neatly. 
The correct thing to do is to pale to the teeth, and 
with a rolling, conscience-stricken eye glare round the 
horizon. But that was not Peter's way. 




"We'd better tidy up if we're to have visitors," he 
said calmly. 

Now there was one of those big oak German cup- 
boards against the wall which must have been brought 
in in sections, for complete it would never have got 
through the door. It was empty now, but for Blen- 
kiron's hat-box. In it he deposited the unconscious 
Rasta, and turned the key. "There's enough ventila- 
tion through the top," he observed, "to keep the air 
good." Then he opened the door. 

A magnificent kavass in blue and silver stood but^ 
side. He saluted and proffered a card on which was 
written in pencil, "Hilda von Einem." 

I would have begged for time to change my clothes, 
but the lady was behind him. I saw the black mantilla 
and the rich sable furs. Peter vanished through my 
bedroom and I was left to receive my guest in a room 
littered with broken glass and a senseless man in the 

There are some situations so crazily extravagant 
that they key up the spirit to meet them. I was al- 
most laughing when that stately lady stepped over 
my threshold. 

"Madam," I said^, with a bow that shamed my old 
dressing-gown and strident pyjamas. "You find mc 
at a disadvantage. I came home soaking from my 
ride, and was in the act of changing. My servant 
has just upset a tray of crockery, and I fear this room's 
no fit place for a lady. Allow me three minutes to 
make myself presentable." 

She inclined her head gravely and took a scat by 
the fire. I went into my bedroom, and as I expected 
found Peter lurking by the other door. In a hectic 
sentence I bade him get Rasta's orderly out of the 




place on any pretext, and tell him his master would 
return later. Then I hurried into decent garments 
and came out to find my visitor in a brown study. 

At the sound of my entrance she started from her 
dream and stood up on the hearthrug, slipping the 
long robe of fur from her slim body. 

"We are alone?" she said. "We will not be dis- 

Then an inspiration came to me. I remembered 
that Frau von Einem, according to Blenkiron, did not 
see eye to eye with the Young Turks; and I had a 
queer instinct that Rasta could not be to her liking. 
So I spoke the truth. 

"I must tell you that there's another guest here to- 
night. I reckon he's feeling pretty uncomfortable. 
At present he's trussed up on a shelf in that cup- 

She did not trouble to look round. 

"Is he dead?" she asked calmly. 

"By no means," I said, "but he's fixed so he can't 
speak, and I guess he can't hear much." 

"He was the man who brought you this?" she asked, 
pointing to the envelope on the table which bore the 
big blue stamp of the Minister of War. 

"The same," I said. "I'm not perfectly sure of 
his name, but I think they call him Rasta." 

Not a flicker of a smile crossed her face, but I had 
a feeling that the news pleased her. 

"Did he thwart you?" she asked. 

"Why, yes. He thwarted me some. His head is 
a bit swelled, and an hour or two on the shelf will do 
him good." 

"He is a powerful man," she said, "a jackal of 
Enver's. You have made a dangerous enemy." 



"I don't value him at two cents," said I, though I 
thought grimly that as far as I could see the value 
of him was likely to be about the price of nly neck. 

"Perhaps you are right," she said with abstracted 
eyes. "In these days no enemy is dangerous to a bold 
man. I have come to-night, Mr. Hanau, to talk busi- 
ness with you, as they say in your country. I have 
heard well of you, and to-day I have seen you. I 
may have need of you, and you assuredly will have 
need of me. ..." 

She broke off, and again her strange potent eyes 
fell on my face. They were like a burning search- 
light which showed up every cranny and crack of the 
soul. I felt it was going to be horribly difficult to 
act a part under that compelling gaze. She could not 
mesmerise me, but she could strip me of my fancy 
dress and set me naked in the masquerade. 

"What came you forth to seek?" she asked. "You 
are not like the stout American Blenkiron, a lover of 
shoddy power and a devotee of a feeble science. 
There is something more than that in your face. You 
are on our side, but you are not of the Germans with 
their hankerings for a rococo Empire. You come 
from America, the land of pious follies, where man 
worships gold and words. I "ask, what came you forth 
to seek?" 

As she spoke I seemed to get a vision of a figure,^ 
like one of the old gods looking down on human nature 
from a great height, a Hgure disdainful and passion- 
less, but with its own magnificence. It kindled my 
imagination, and I answered with the words I had 
often cogitated when I had tried to explain to myself 
just how a case could be made out against the Allied 


.« «. 








- % The world, as I see It, has . a^- 
• ;3Ud. Men have ^or^'''^^,^ ^at tVve 
,-^?^. and they have f jf ^^t^s of the 
:«a. smug civilisation were tne ^^xX 

\ : ftie that is not the teaching ots,, the 
J> teaching of life. We H^ J^^mascuUted 
\:\imcs, and we were becoming em ^ T:Vven 
•;i,«*ose gods were our own "^^^^^^^ in spite 
• :S. and the air was cleared. Germany^ ^^ ^^ 
V jAmdcrs and her grossness, stooa ^v^^ougn 
^ of «int. She - had the courage to ^^^gV^es of 
^-S* of humbug and to laugh at the p^t 

.. i^ Therefore I am on G^^^^^^ nothmg oi 
,^ here for another reason. 1 ^°^ ^Vie desert 
^,£,a, but as I read history it^^"° mankind »' 
^, the purification comes. ^^^^ tinted idols 
^e«d with shams and phrases a^^* ^ simpl\5^ 
i *iod blows out of the wilds to cleanse a j^^iii- 

,^. The world needs space and fresh ait- , ^ ^lind 
^tion we have boasted of is a toy-shop » 
j/cy, and I hanker for open country. . a. Her 

This confounded nonsense was well recei ^^^ 
ale eyes had the cold light of the ,*»"*;{ of her 
;r bright hair and the long exquisite J>^, ^ j^orse 
ce she looked like some destroying ^^^ xu, {eared 
gend. A.t that moment I tUinlc 1 first rea J ^^^ 
=r ; before I had half hated and half adrnw^ ' ^^^ i 
«aven, in her absorption sUe did not oo^.^ 
*-Yt^***'^gotten the speech of Cleveland,^,, J^^ said. 
I ou are of the HouseKoia. of FaitJ. ^^ pj-,th 
* On will presently learn mar^y things* W'' 


marches to victory. Meantime I have one word for 
you. You and your companion travel eastward." 

"We go to Mesopotamia," I said. "I reckon these 
are our passports," and I pointed to the envelope. 

She picked it up, opened it, and then tore it in 
pieces and tossed it in the fire. 

"The orders are countermanded," she said. "I 
have need of you and you go with me. Not to the flats 
of the Tigris, but to the great hills. To-morrow you 
shall receive new passports." 

She gave me her hand and turned to go. At the 
threshold she paused, and looked towards the oak 
cupboard. "To-morrow I will relieve you of your 
prisoner. He will be safer in my hands." 

She left me in a condition of pretty blank bewilder- 
ment. We were to be tied to the chariot-wheels of 
this fury, and started on an enterprise compared to 
which fighting against our friends at Kut seemed tame 
and reasonable. On the other hand, I had been spotted 
by Rasta, and had got the envoy of the most powerful 
man in Constantinople locked in a cupboard. At all 
costs we had to keep Rasta safe, but I was very de- 
termined that he should not be handed over to the 
lady. I was going to be no party to cold-blooded mur- 
der, which I judged to be her expedient. It was a 
pretty ketde of fish, but in the meantime I must have 
food, for I had eaten nothing for nine hours. So I 
went in search of Peter. 

I had scarcely begun my long deferred meal when 
Sandy entered. He was before his time, and he looked 
as solemn as a sick owl. I seized on him as a drown- 
ing man clutches a spar. 

He heard my story of Rasta with a lengthening 




"That's bad," he said. "You say he spotted you, 
and your subsequent doings of course would not disil- 
lusion him. It's an infernal nuisance, but there's only 
one way out of it. I must put him in charge of my own 
people. They will keep him safe and sound till he's 
wanted. Only he mustn't see me." And he went out 
in a hurry. 

I fetched Rasta out of his prison. He had come 
to his senses by this time, and lay regarding me with 
stony, malevolent eyes. 

"I'm very sorry, sir," I said, "for what has hap- 
pened. But you left me no alternative. I've got a 
big job on hand and I can't have it interfered with 
by you or any one. You're paying the price of a sus- 
picious nature. When you know a little more you'll 
want to apologise to me. I'm going to see that you 
are kept quiet and comfortable for a day or two. 
You've no cause to worry, for you'll suffer no harm. 
I ^ve you my word of honour as an American citizen." 

Two of Sandy's miscreants came in and bore him 
off, and presently Sandy himself returned. When I 
asked where he was being taken, Sandy said he didn't 
know. "They've got their orders, and they'll carry 
them out to the letter. There's a big unknown area 
in Constantinople to hide a man, into which the 
Khafiyeh never enter." 

Then he flung himself in a chair and lit his old pipe. 

"Dick," he said, "this job is getting very difficult 
and very dark. But my knowledge has grown in the 
last few days. I've found out the meaning of the 
second word that Harry BuUivant scribbled." 

''Cancerf" I asked. 

"Yes. It means just what it reads and no more. 
Greenmantle is dying — has been dying for months. 



This afternoon they brought a German doctor to see 
him, and the man gave him a few hours of life. By 
now he may be dead." 

The news was a staggerer. For a moment I thought 
it cleared up things. "Then that busts the show," 
I said. "You can't have a crusade without a prophet." 

"I wish I thought it did. It's the end of one stage, 
but the start of a new and blacker one. Do you think 
that woman will be beaten by such a small thing as 
the death of her prophet? She'll find a substitute- — 
one of the four Ministers, or some one else. She's 
a devil incarnate, but she has the soul of a Napoleon. 
The big danger is only beginning." 

Then he told me the story of his recent doings. 
He had found out the house of Frau von Einem with- 
out much trouble, and had performed with his raga- 
muffins in the servants' quarters. The prophet had a 
large retinue, and the fame of the minstrels — for the 
Companions were known far and wide in the land of 
Islam — came speedily to the ears of the Holy Ones. 
Sandy, a leader in this most orthodox coterie, was 
taken into favour and brought to the notice of the four 
Ministers. He and his half-dozen retainers became 
inmates of the villa, and Sandy, from his knowledge 
of Islamic lore and his ostentatious piety, was ad- 
mitted to the confidence of the household. Frau von' 
Einem welcomed him as an ally, for the Companions 
had been the most devoted propagandists of the new 

As he described it, it was a strange business. Green- 
mantle was dying and often in great pain, but he strug- 
gled to meet the demands of his proteAress. The 
four Ministers, as Sandy saw them, were unworldly 
ascetics; the prophet himself was a saint, though a 

. 231 


practical saint with some notions of policy ; but the con- 
trolling brain and will were those of the lady. Sandy 
seemed to have won his favour, even his affection. He 
spoke of him with a kind of desperate pity» 

"I never saw such a man. He is the greatest gentle- 
man you can picture, with a dignity like a high moun- 
tain. He is a dreamer and a poet, too — a genius if I 
can judge these things. I think I can assess him 
rightly, for I know something of the soul of the East, 
but it would be too long a story to tell now. The 
West knows nothing of the true Oriental. It pictures 
him as lapped in colour and idleness and luxury and 
gorgeous dreams. But it is all wrong. The Kaf he 
yearns for is an austere thing. It is the austerity of 
the East that is its beauty and its terror. ... It al- 
ways wants the same things at the back of its head. 
The Turk and the Arab came out of big spaces, and 
they have the desire of them in their bones. They 
settle down and stagnate, and by and by they degener- 
ate into that appalling subtlety which is their ruling 
passion gone crooked. And then comes a new revela- 
tion and a great simplifying. They want to live face 
to face with God without a screen of ritual and images 
and priestcraft. They want to prune life of its foolish 
fringes and get back to the noble bareness of the desert. 
Remember, it is always the empty desert and the empty 
sky that cast their spell over them — ^these, and the 
hot, strong, antiseptic sunlight which burns up all rot 
and decay. ... It isn't inhuman. It's the humanity 
of one part of the human race. It isn't ours, it isn't 
as good as ours, but it's damned good all the same. 
There are times when it grips me so hard that I'm 
inclined to forswear the go^s of my fathers I 

"Well, Greenmantle is the prophet of this great 



simplicity. He speaks straight to the heart of Islam, 
and it's an honourable message. But for our sins It's 
. been twisted into part of this damned German propa- 
gaada. His unworldliness has been used for a cun- 
ning political move, and his creed of space and sim- 
plicity for the furtherance of the last word in human 
degeneracy- My God, Dick, it's like seeing St. Francis 
run by Messalina." 

"The woman has been here to-night," I said. "She 
asked me what I stood for, and I invented some in- 
fernal nonsense which she approved of. But I can 
see one thing. She and her prophet may run for 
different stakes, but it's the same course." 

Sandy started. "She has been here I" he cried. 
"Tell me, Dick, what did you think of her?" 

"I thought she was about two parts mad, but the 
third part was uncommon like inspiration." 

"That's about right," he said. "I was wrong in 
comparing her to Messalina. She's something a jolly 
sight more complicated. She runs the prophet just be- 
cause she shares his belief. Only what in him is sane 
and fine, in her is mad and horrible. You see, Ger- 
many also wants to simplify life.'* 

"I know," I said. "I told her that an hour ago, 
when I talked more rot to the second than any mortal 
man ever achieved. It will come between me and my 
sleep for the rest of my days." 

"Germany's simplicity is that of the neurotic not, 
the primitive. It is megalomania and egotism and the 
pride of the man in the Bible that waxed fat and kicked. 
But the results are the same. She wants to destroy 
and simplify; but it isn't the simplicity of the ascetic, 
which is of the spirit, but the simplicity of the madman 
which grinds down all the contrivances of civilisation to 



a featureless monotony. The prophet wants to save 
the souls of his people; Germany wants to rule the 
inanimate corpse of the world. But you can get the 
same language to cover both. And so you have the 
partnership of St. Francis and Messalina. Dick, did 
you ever hear of a thing called the Superman?" 

"There was a time when the papers were full of 
nothing else," I answered. "I gather it was invented 
by a sportsman called Nietzsche." 

**Maybe," said Sandy. "Old Nietzsche has been 
blamed for a great deal of rubbish he would have died 
rather than acknowledge. But it's a craze of the new, 
fatted Germany. It's a fancy type which could never 
really exist, any more than the Economic Man of the 
politicians. Mankind has a sense of humour which 
stops short of the final absurdity. There never has 
been and there never could be a real Superman, but 
there might be a Super-woman." 

"You'll get into trouble, my lad, if you talk like 
that," I said. 

"It's true all the same. Women have got a perilous 
logic which we never have, and some of the best of 
them don't see the joke of life like the ordinary man. 
They can be far greater than men, for they can go 
straight to the heart of things. There never was a 
man so near the divine as Joan of Arc. But I think 
too they can be more entirely damnable than anything 
that was ever breeched, for they don't stop still now 
and then and laugh at themselves. . • . There is no 
Superman. The poor old donkeys that fancy them- 
selves in the part are either crack-brained professors 
who couldn't rule a Sunday-school class, or bristling 
soldiers with pint-pot heads who imagine that the 
shooting of a Due d'Enghien made a Napoleon. But 



there is a Super-woman, and her name's Hilda von 

"I thought our job was nearly over," I groaned, 
"and now it looks as if it hadn't well started. BuUi- 
vant said that all we had to do was to find out the 

"BuUivant didn't know. No man knows except you 
and me. I tell you, the woman has immense power, 
The Germans have trusted her with their trump card, 
and she's going to play it for all she is worth. There's 
no crime that will stand in her way. She has set the 
ball rolling, and if need be she'll cut all her prophets' 
throats and run the show herself. ... I don't know 
about your job, for honestly I can't quite see what you 
and Blenkiron are going to do. But I'm very dear 
about my own duty. She's let me into the business, and 
Tm going to stick to it in the hope that I'll find a chance 
of wrecking it. . . . We're moving eastward to-mor- 
row — ^with a new prophet if the old one is dead." 

"Where are you going?" I asked. 

"I don't know. But I gather it's a long journey, 
judging by the preparations. And it must be to a cold 
country, judging by the clothes provided." 

"Well, wherever it is, we're going with you. You 
haven't heard our end of the yam. Blenkiron and I 
have been moving in the best circles as skilled Amer- 
ican engineers who are going to play Old Harry with 
the British on the Tigris. I'm a pal of Enver's now, 
and he has offered me his protection. The lamented 
Rasta brought our passports for the journey to Meso- 
potamia to-morrow, but an hour ago your lady tore 
them up and put them in the fire. We are going with 
her, and she vouchsafed the information that it was 
towards the great hills." 




Sandy whistled long and low. "I wonder what the 
deuce she wants with you? This thing is getting 
damned complicated, Dick. . . . Where, more by 
token, is BlenJciron? He's the fellow to know about 
high politics.'' 

The missing Blenkiron, as Sandy spoke, entered the 
room with his slow, quiet step. I could see by his 
carriage that for once he had no dyspepsia, and by his 
eyes that he was excited. 

"Say, boys," he said, "I've got something pretty 
considerable in the way of noos. There's been big 
fighting on the Eastern border, and the Buzzards have 
taken a bad knock." 

His hands were full of papers, from which he se- 
lected a map and spread it on the table. 

"They keep mum about these things in this capital, 
but I've been piecing the story together these last 
days and I think I've got it straight. A fortnight ago 
old man Nicholas descended from his mountains and 
scuppered his enemies there — at Kuprikeui, where the 
main road eastwards crosses the Araxes. That is only 
the beginning of the stunt, for he pressed on on a 
broad front, and the gentleman called Kiamil, who 
commands in those parts, was not up to the job of 
holding him. The Buzzards were shepherded in from 
north and east and south, and now the Muscovite is 
sitting down outside the forts of Erzerum. I can tell 
you they're pretty miserable about the situation in the 
highest quarters. . . . Enver is sweating blood to get 
fresh divisions to Erzerum from Gallipoli, but it's a 
long road and it looks as if they would be too late for 
the fair. . . . You and I, Major, start for Meso- 
potamy to-morrow, and that's about the meanest bit of 
bad luck that ever happened to John S. We're miss* 



ing the chance of seeing the gloriest fight of this cam- 

I picked up the map and pocketed it. Maps were 
my business, and I had been looking for one. 

"Wc*re not going to Mesopotamia," I said. "Our 
orders have been cancelled." 

''But I've just seen Enver, and he said he had sent 
round our passports." 

"They're in the fire," I siaid. "The right ones will 
come along to-morrow morning." 

Sandy broke in, his eyes bright with excitement. 

"The great hills! . . . We're going to Erzerum. 
. . . Don't you see that the Germans are playing 
their big card? They're sending Greenmantle to the 
point of danger in the hope that his coming will rally 
the Turkish defence. Things are beginning to move, 
Dick, old man. No more kicking the heels for us. 
We're going to be in it up to the neck, and Heaven 
help the best man. ... I must be off now, for I've 
a lot to do. Au revoir. We meet some time soon in 
the hills." 

Blenkiron still looked puzzled, till I told him the 
story of that night's doings. As he listened, all the 
satisfaction went out of his face, and that funny, child- 
ish air of bewilderment crept in. 

"It's not for me to complain, for it's in the straight 
line of our dooty, but I reckon there's going to be big 
trouble ahead of this caravan. It's Kismet, and we've 
got to bow. But I won't pretend that I'm not consider- 
able scared at the prospect." 

"Oh, so am I," I said. "The woman frightens me 
into fits. We're up against it this time all right. All 
the same I'm glad we're to be let into the real star 




metropolitan performance. I didn't relish the idea of 
touring in the provinces." 

"I guess that's correct. But I could wish that the 
good God would see fit to take that lovely lady to 
Himself. She's too much for a quiet man at my time 
of life. When she invites us to go in on the ground- 
floor I feel like taking the elevator to the roof-garden." 




ripiWO days later, in the evening, we came to An- 
I gora, die first stage in our journey. 
The passports had arrived next morning, as Frau 
von Einem had promised, and with them a plan of our 
journey. More, one of the Companions, who spoke a 
little English, was detailed to accompany us — a wise 
precaution, for no one of us had a word of Turkish. 
These were the sum of our instructions. I heard noth- 
ing more of Sandy or Greenmantle or the lady. We 
were meant to travel in our own party. 

We had the railway to Angora, a very comfortable 
German schlafwagon, tacked to the end of a troop- 
train. There wasn't much to be seen of the country, 
for after we left the Bosporus we ran into scuds of 
snow, and except that we seemed to be climbing on to 
a big plateau I had no notion of the landscape. It 
was a marvel that we made such good time, for that 
line was congested beyond anything I have ever seen. 
The place was crawling with the Gallipoli troops, and 
every siding was packed with supply trucks. When 
we stopped — which we did on an average about once 
an hour — ^you could see vast camps on both sides of 
the line, and often we struck regiments on the march 
along the railway track. They looked a fine, hardy 
lot of ruffians, but many were deplorably ragged, and 



I didn't think much of their boots. I wondered how 
they would do the five hundred miles of road to 

Blenkiron played Patience, and Peter and I took 
a hand at Picquette, but mostly we smoked and yarned. 
Getting away from that infernal city had cheered us 
up wonderfully. Now we were out on the open road, 
moving to the sound of the guns. At the worst we 
should not perish like rats in a sewer. We would be 
all together, too, and that was a comfort. I think we 
felt the relief which a man who has been on a lonely 
outpost feels when he is brought back to his battalion. 
Besides, the thing had gone clean beyond our power 
to direct. It was no good planning and scheming, for 
none of us had a notion what the next step might be. 
We were fatalists now, believing in Kismet, and that 
is a comfortable faith. 

All but Blenkiron. The coming of Hilda von Einem 
into the business had put a very ugly complexion on 
it for him. It was curious to see how she affected the 
different members of our gang. Peter did not care 
a rus^ ; man, woman, and hippogriff were the same to 
him ; he met it all as calmly as if he were making plans 
to round up an old lion in a patch of bush, taking the 
facts as they came and working at them as if they were 
a sum in arithmetic. Sandy and I were impressed — 
it's no good denying it: horribly impressed — ^but we 
were too interested to be scared, and we weren't a bit 
fascinated. We hated her too much for that. But 
she fairly struck Blenkiron dumb. He said himself it 
was just like a rattlesnake and a bird. 

I made him talk about her, for if he sat and brooded 
he would get worse. It was a strange thing that this 
man, the most imperturbable, and I think about the 



most courageous I have ever met, should be paralysed 
by a slim woman. There was no doubt about it. The 
thought of her made the future to him as black as a 
thunder cloud. It took the power out of his joints, and 
if she was going to be much around, it looked as if 
Blenkiron might be counted out. 

I suggested that he was in love with her, but this 
he vehemently denied. 

"No, sir; I haven't got no sort of affection for the 
lady. My trouble is that she puts me out of coun- 
tenance, and I can't fit her in as an antagonist. I guess 
we Americans haven't got the right poise for dealing 
with that kind of female. We've exalted our women- 
folk into little tin gods, and at the same time left them 
out of the real business of life. Consequently, when 
we strike one playing the biggest kind of man's game 
we can't place her. We aren't used to regarding them 
as anything except angels and children. I wish I had 
had you boys' upbringing." 

Angora was like my notion of some place such as 
Amiens in the retreat from Mons. It was one mass 
of troops and transport — ^the neck of the bottI#, for 
more arrived every hour, and the only outlet was the 
single eastern road. The town was pandemonium into 
which distracted German officers were trying to intro- 
duce some order. They didn't worry much about us, 
for the heart of Anatolia wasn't a likely hunting- 
ground for suspicious characters. We took our pass- 
port to the commandant, who vised them readily, and 
told us he'd do his best to get us transport. We spent 
the night in a sort of hotel, where all four crowded 
into one little bedroom, and next morning I had my 
work cut out getting a motor-car. It took four hours, 
and the use of every great name in the Turkish Empire, 



to raise a dingy sort of Studebaker, and another two 
to get the petrol and spare tyres. As for a chauf- 
feur, love or money couldn't find him, and I was com- 
pelled to drive the thing myself. 

We left just after midday and swung out into bare 
bleak downs patched with scrubby woodlands. There 
was no snow here, but a wind was blowing from the 
East which searched the marrow. Presently we 
climbed up into hills, and the road, though not badly 
engineered to begin with, grew as rough as the channel 
of a stream. No wonder, for the traffic was like what 
one saw on that awful stretch between Cassel and 
Ypres, and there were no gangs of Belgian road- 
makers to mend it up. We found troops by the thou- 
sands striding along with their impa^ssive Turkish 
faces, ox convoys, mule convoys, wagons drawn by 
sturdy little Anatolian horses, and, coming in the con- 
trary direction, many shabby Red Crescent cars and 
wagons of the wounded. We had to crawl for hours 
on end, till we. got past a block. Just before the dark- 
ening we seemed to outstrip the first press, and "had a 
clear run for about ten miles over a low pass in the 
hills. I began to get anxious about the car, for it was 
a poor one at the best, and the road was guaranteed 
sooner or later to knock even a Rolls-Roycfc into scrap 

All the same it was glorious to be out in the open 
again. Peter's face wore a new look, and he sniffed 
the bitter air like a stag. There floated up from little 
wayside camps the odour of wood-smoke and dung- 
fires. That, and the curious acrid winter smell of great 
wind-blown spaces, will always come to my memory 
as I think of that day. Every hour brought me peace 
of mind and resolution. I felt as I had felt when the 





battalion first marched from Aire towards the firing 
line, a kind of keying-up and wild expectation. Vm 
not used to cities, and loun^ng about Constantinople 
had slackened my fibre. Now, as the sharp wind buf- 
feted us, I felt braced to any kind of risk. We were 
on the great road to the east and the border hills, and 
soon we should stand upon the farthest battle-front 
of the war. This was no commonplace intelligence 
job. That was all over, and we were going into the 
firing-line, going to take part in what might be the 
downfall of our enemies. I didn't reflect that we were 
among these enemies, and would probably share their 
downfall if we were not shot earlier. The truth is, I 
had got out of the way of regarding the thing as a 
struggle between armies and nations. I hardly both- 
ered to think where my sympathies lay. First and fore- 
most it was a contest between the four of us and a 
crazy woman, and this personal antagonism made the 
strife of armies only a dimly felt background. 

We slept that night like logs on the floor of a dirty 
khan, and started next morning in a powder of snow^ 
We were getting very high up now, and it was perish- 
ing cold. The Companion — ^his name sounded like 
Hussin — had travelled the road before and told me 
what the places were, but they conveyed nothing to me. 
All morning we wriggled through a big lot of troops, 
a brigade at least, who swung along at a great pace 
with a fine free stride that I don't think I have ever 
seen bettered. I must say I took a fancy to the Turkish 
fighting man : I remembered the testimonial our fel- 
lows gave him as a clean fighter, and I felt very bit- 
ter that Germany should have lugged him into this 
ugly business. They halted for a meal, and we stopped 
too and lunched ofl some brown bread and dried figs 



' and a flask of very sour wine. I had a few words with 
one of the officers who spoke a little German. He told 
me they were marching straight for Russia, since there 
had been a great Turkish victory in the Caucasus. 
"We have beaten the French and the British, and now 
it is Russia's turn,'' he said stolidly, as if repeating 
a lesson. But he added that he was mortally sick 
of war. 

In the afternoon we cleared the column and had 
an open road for some hours. The land now had a 
tilt eastward, as if we were moving towards the val- 
ley of a great river. Soon we began to meet little 
parties of men coming from the east with a new look 
in their faces. The first lots of wounded had been 
the ordinary thing you see on every front, and there 
had been some pretence at organisation. But these 
new lots were very weary and broken ; they were often 
barefoot, and they seemed to have lost their transport 
and to be starving. You would find a group stretched 
by the roadside in the last stages of exhaustion. Then 
would come a party limping along, so tired that they 
never turned their heads to look at us. Almost all 
were wounded, some badly, and most were horribly 
thin. I wondered how my Turkish friend behind would 
explain the sight to his men, if he believed in a great 
victory. They had not the air of the backwash of a 
conquering army. 

Even Blenkiron, who was no soldier, noticed it. 

"These boys look mighty bad," he observed. 
"We've got to hustle. Major, if we're going to get 
seats for the last act." 

That was my own feeling. The sight made me 
mad to get on faster, for I saw that big things were 
happening in the East. I had reckoned that fouri 



days would take us from Angora to Erzerum, but 
here was the second nearly over and we were not yet 
a third of the way. I pressed on recklessly, and that 
hurry was our undoing. 

I have said that the Studebaker was a rotten old 
car. Its steering-gear was pretty dicky, and the bad 
surface and continual hairpin bends of the road didn't 
improve it. Soon we came into snow lying fairly deep, 
frozen hard and rutted by the big transport-wagons. 
We bumped and bounced horribly, and were shaken 
about like peas in a bladder. I began to be acutely 
anxious about the old bone-shaker, the more as we 
seemed a long way short of the village I had proposed 
to spend the night in. Twilight was falling and we 
were still in an unfeatured waste, crossing the shal- 
low glen of a stream. There was a bridge at the bot- 
tom of a slope — a bridge of logs and earth which had 
apparently been freshly strengthened for heavy traffic. 
As we approached it at a good pace the car ceased to 
answer to the wheel. 

I struggled desperately to keep it straight, but it 
swerved to the left and we plunged over a bank into 
a marshy hollow. There was a sickening bump as 
we struck the lower ground, and the whole party were 
shot out into the frozen slush. I don't yet know how 
I escaped, for the car turned over and by rights I 
should have had my back broken. But no one was* 
hurt. Peter was laughing, and Blenkiron, after shak- 
ing the snow out of his hair, joined him. For myself 
I was feverishly examining the machine. It was about 
as ugly as it could be, for the front axle was broken. 

Here was a piece of hopeless bad luck. We were 
stuck in the middle of Asia Minor with no means 
of conveyance, for to get a new axle there was as 



likely as to find snowballs on the Congo. It was all 
but dark and there was no time to lose. I got out the 
petrol tins and spare tyres and cached them among 
some rocks on the hillside. Then we collected our 
scanty baggage from the derelict Studebaker. Our 
only hope was Hussin. He had got to find us some 
lodging for the night, and next day we would have 
a try for horses or a lift in some passing wagon. I 
had no hope of another car. Every automobile in 
Anatolia would now be at a premium. 

It was so disgusting a mishap that we all took it 
quietly. It was too bad to be helped by hard swear- 
ing. Hassin and Peter set off on different sides of the 
road to prospect for a house, and Blenkiron and I 
sheltered under the nearest rock and smoked savagely. 

Hussin was the first to strike oil. He came back 
in twenty minutes with news of some kind of dwell- 
ing a couple of miles up the stream. He went off 
to collect Peter, and, humping our baggage, Blen- 
kiron and I plodded up the waterside. Darkness had 
fallen thick by this time, and we took some bad tosses 
among the bogs. When Hussin and Petei- made up 
on us they found a better road, and presently we saw 
a light twinkle in the hollow ahead. 

It proved to be a wretched tumble-down farm in a 
grove of poplars— -a foul-smelling, niuddy yard, a two- 
roomed hovel of a house, and a barn which was toler- 
ably dry and which we selected for our sleeping-place. 
The owner was a broken old fellow whose sons were 
all at the war, and he received us with the profound 
calm of one who expects nothing but unpleasantness 
from life. 

By this time we had recovered our temper, and I 
was trying hard to put my new Kismet philosophy 



into practice. I reckoned that if risks were foreor- 
dained, so were difEculties, and both must be taken as 
part of the day's work. With the remains of our pro- 
visions and some curdled milk we satisfied our hunger 
and curled ourselves up among the pease straw of the 
barn. Blenkiron announced with a happy sigh that he 
had now been for two days quit of his dyspepsia. 

That night, I remember, I had a queer dream. I 
seemed to be in a wild place among mountains, and 
I was being hunted, though who was after me I 
couldn't tell. I remember sweating with fright, for 
I seemed to be quite alone and the terror that was pur- 
suing me was more than human. The place was hor- 
ribly quiet and still, and there was deep snow lying 
everywhere, so that each step I took was heavy as lead. 
A very ordinary sort of nightmare, you will say. Yes, 
but there was one strange feature in this one. The 
night was pitch dark, but ahead of me in the throat of 
the pass there was one patch of light, and it showed 
a rum little hill with a rocky top : what we call in South 
Africa a castrol or saucepan. I had a notion that if 
I could get to that castrol I should be safe, and 1 
panted through the drifts towards it with the avenger 
of blood at my heels. I woke gasping, to find the 
winter morning struggling through the cracked rafters, 
and to hear Blenkiron say cheerily that his duodenum 
had behaved all night like a gentleman. I lay still for 
a bit trying to fix the dream, but it all dissolved into 
haze except the picture of the little hill, which was 
quite clear in every detail. I told myself it was a 
reminiscence of the veld, some spot done in the Wak- 
kerstroom country, though for the life of me I couldn't 
place it. 

I pass over the next three days, for they were ohc 



uninterrupted series of heart-breaks. Hussin and Peter 
scoured the country for horses, Blenkiron sat in the 
barn and played Patience, while I haunted the roadside 
near the bridge in the hope of picking up some kind 
of conveyance. My task was perfectly futile. The 
columns passed, casting wondering eyes on the wrecked . 
car among the frozen rushes, but they could offer no 
help. My friend the Turkish officer promised to wire 
to Angora from some place or other for a fresh car, 
but, remembering the state of affairs at Angora, I 
had no hope from that quarter. Cars passed, plenty 
of them, packed with staff-officers, Turkish and Ger- 
man, but they were in far too big a hurry even to 
stop and speak. The only conclusion I reached from 
my roadside vigils was that things were getting very 
warm in the neighbourhood of Erzerum. Everybody 
on that road seemed to be in mad haste either to get 
there or to get away. 

Hussin was the best chance, for, as I have said, 
the Companions had a very special and peculiar graft 
throughout the Turkish Empire. But the first day 
he came back empty-handed. All the horses had been 
commandeered for the war, he said; and though he 
was certain that some had been kept back and hidden 
away, he could not get on their track. The second 
day he returned with two — miserable screws and de- 
plorably short in the wind from a diet of beans. There 
was no decent corn or hay left in that countryside. ^ 

The third day he picked up a nice little Arab stallion : ' 

in poor conditi9n, it is true, but perfectly sound. For 
these beasts we paid good money, for Blenkiron was 
well supplied and we had no time to spare for the in- 
terminable Oriental bargaining. 

Hussin said he had cleaned up the countryside, and 



I believed him. I dared not delay another day, even 
though It meant leaving him behind. But he had no 
notion of doing anything of the kind. He was a good 
runner, he said, and could keep up with such horses as 
ours for ever. If this was the manner of our progress, 
I reckoned we would be weeks in getting to Erzerum. 

We started at dawn in the morning of the fourth 
day, after the old farmer had blessed us and sold us 
some stale rye-bread. Blenkiron bestrode the Arab, 
being the heaviest, and Peter and I had the screws. 
My worst forebodings were soon realised, and Hussin, 
loping along at my side, had an easy job to keep up 
with us. We were about as slow as an ox-wagon. The 
brutes were unshod, and with the rough roads I saw 
that their feet would very soon go to pieces. We 
jogged along like a tinker's caravan, about five miles 
to the hour, as feckless a party as ever disgraced a 

The weather was now a cold drizzle, which in- 
creased my depression. Cars passed us and disap- 
peared in the mist, going at thirty miles an hour to 
mock our slowness. None of us spoke, for the futility 
of the business clogged our spirits. I bit hard on my 
lips to curb my restlessness, and I think I would have 
sold my soul there and then for anything that could 
move fast. I don't know any sorer trial than to be 
mad for speed and have to crawl at a snail's pace. 
I was getting ripe for any kind of desperate venture. 

About midday we descended on a wide plain full of 
the marks of rich cultivation. Villages became fre- 
quent, and the land was studded with olive groves and 
scarred with water furrows. From what I remem- 
bered of the map I judged that we were coming to 
that champaign country near Siwas, which is the gran- 



ary of Turkey, and the home of the true Osmanli 

Then at a turning of the road we came to the 

It was a dingy, battered place, with the pink plaster 
falling in patches from its walls. There was a court- 
yard abutting on the road, and a flat-topped house 
with a big hole in its side. It was a long way from any 
battle-ground, and I guessed that some explosion had 
wrought the damage. Behind it, a few hundred yards 
off, a detachment of cavalry were encamped beside a 
streahi, with their horses tied up in long lines of 

And by the roadside, quite alone and deserted, stood 
a large new motor-car. 

In all the road before and behind there was no man 
to be seen except the troops by the stream. The 
owners, whoever they were, must be inside the 
caravanserai. , 

I have said I was in the mood for some desperate 
deed, and lo and behold Providence had given me 
the chance 1 I coveted that car as I have never coveted 
anything on earth. At the moment all my plans had 
narrowed down to a feverish passion to get to the 
battlefield. We had to find Greenmantle at Erzerum, 
and once there we should have Hilda von Einem's 
protection. It was a time of war, and a front of brass 
was the surest safety. But, indeed, I could not figure 
out any plan worth speaking of. I saw only one thing 
— a fast car which might be ours. 

I said a word to the others, and we dismounted and 
tethered our horses at the near end of the court- 
yard. I heard the low hum of voices from the cavalry- 
men by the stream, but they were three hundred yards 



off and could not see us. Peter was sent forward to 
scout in the courtyard. In the building itself there was 
but one window looking on the road, and that was in 
the upper floor. Meantime I crawled along beside the 
wall to where the car stood, and had a look at it. It 
was a splendid six-cylinder affair, brand-new, with the 
tyres little worn. There were seven tins of petrol 
stacked behind, as well as spare tyres, and, looking in, 
I saw map-cases and field-glasses strewn on the seats 
as if the owners had only got out for a minute to 
stretch their legs. 

Peter came back and reported that the courtyard 
was empty. "There are men in the upper room," 
he said; "more than one, for I heard their voices. 
They are moving about restlessly, and may soon be 
coming out." 

' I reckoned that there was no time to be Ipst, so I 
told the others to slip down the road fifty yards be- 
yond the caravanserai and be ready to climb in as I 
passed. I had to start the infernal thing, and there 
might be shooting. 

I waited by the car till I saw them reach the right 
distance. I could hear voices from the second floor 
of the house and footsteps moving up and down. I 
was in a fever of anxiety, for any moment a man might 
come to the window. Then I flung myself on the start- 
ing handle and worked like a demon. 

The cold made the job difficult, and my heart was 
in my mouth, for the noise in that quiet place must 
have woke the dead. Then, by the mercy of Heaven, 
the engines started, and I sprang to the driving seat, 
released the dutch, and opened the throttle. The great 
car shot forward, and I seemed to hear behind me 



shrill voices. A pistol bullet bored through my hat, 
and another buried itself in a cushion beside me. 

In a second I was clear of the place and the rest of 
the party were embarking. Blenkiron got on the step 
and rolled himself like a sack of coals into the ton- 
neau. Peter nipped up beside me, and Hussin scram- 
bled in from the back over the folds of the hood. We 
had our baggage in our pockets and had nothing to 

Bullets dropped round us, but did no harm. Then 
I heard a report at my ear, and out of a corner of my 
eye saw Peter lower his pistol. Presently we were out 
of range, and, looking back, I saw three man gesticu- 
lating in the middle of the road. 

"May the devil fly away with this pistol," said 
Peter ruefully. "I never could make good shooting 
with a little gun. Had I had my rifle * . ." 

"What did you shoot for?" I asked m amazement. 
"We've got the fellow's car, and we don't want to do 
them any harm." 

"It would have saved trouble had I had my rifle," 
said Peter, quietly. "The little man you call Rasta 
was there, and he knew you. I heard him cry your 
name. He is an angry little man, and I observe that 
on this road there is a telegraph," 




FROM that moment I date the beginning of my 
madness. Suddenly I forgot all cares and diffi- 
culties of the present and future, and became foolishly 
light-hearted. We were rushing towards the great 
battle where men were busy at my proper trade. I 
realised how much I had loathed the lonely days in 
Germany, and still more the dawdling week in Con- 
stantinople. Now I was clear of it all, and bound 
for the clash of armies. It didn't trouble me that we 
were on the wrong side of the battle line. I had a 
sort of instinct that the darker and wilder things grew 
the better chance for us. 

"Seems to me," said Blenkiron, bending over me, 
"that this joy-ride is going to come to an untimely 
end pretty soon. Peter's right. That young man 
will set the telegraph going, and we'll be held up at 
the next township." 

"He's got to get to a telegraph office first," I an- 
swered. "That's where we have the pull of him. 
He's welcome to the screws we left behind, and if he 
finds an operator before the evening I'm the worst 
kind of Dutchman. I'm going to break all the rules 
and bucket this car for what's she worth. Don't you 
see that the nearer we get to Erzerum the safer we 



"I don't follow," he said slowly. "At Erzerum I 
reckon they'll be waiting for us with the handcuffs. 
Why in thunder couldn't these hairy ragamuffins keep 
the little cuss safe ? Your record's a bit too precipitous, 
Major, for the most innocent-minded ifiilitary boss." 

"Do you remember what you said about the Ger- 
mans being open to bluff ? Well, I'm going to put up 
the steepest kind of bluff. Of course they'll stop us. 
Rasta will do his damnedest. But remember that he 
and his friends are not very popular with the Germans, 
and Madame von Einem is. We're her proteges, and 
the bigger the German swell I get before the safer I'll 
feel. We've got our passports and our orders, and 
he'll be a bold man that will stop us once we get into 
the German zone. Therefore I'm going to hurry as 
fast as God will let me." 

It was a ride that deserved to have an epic written 
about it. The car was good, and I handled her well, 
though I say it who shouldn't. The road in that big 
central plain was fair, and often I knocked fifty miles 
an hour out of her. We passed troops by a circuit 
over the veld, where we took some awful risks, and 
once we skidded by some transport with our off wheels 
almost over the lip of a ravine. We went through 
the narrow streets of Siwas like a fire-engine, while 
I shouted out in German that we carried despatches 
for head-quarters. We shot out of drizzling rain into 
brief spells of winter sunshine, and then into a snow 
blizzard which all but whipped the skin from our 
faces. And always before us the long road unrolled, 
with somewhere at the end of it two armies clinched 
in a death-grapple. 

That night we looked for no lodging. We ate a 
.sort of meal in the car with the hood up, and felt our 



way on In the darkness, for the headlights were in per- 
fect order. Then we turned off the road for four 
hours' sleep, and I had a go at the map. Before 
dawn we started again, and came over a pass Into the 
vale of a big river. The winter dawn showed its 
gleaming stretches, ice-bound among the sprinkled 
meadows. I called to Blenkiron : 

"I believe that river Is the Euphrates," I said. 

"So," he said, acutely interested. "Then that's the 
waters of Babylon. Great snakes, that I should have 
lived to see the fields where King Nebuchadnezzar 
grazed I Do you know the name of that big hill^ 

"Araratf as like as not," I cried, and he believed 

We were among the hills now, great, rocky, black 
slopes, and, seen through side glens, a hinterland of 
snowy peaks. I remember I kept looking for the 
castrol I had seen In my dream. The thing had never 
left off haunting me, and I was pretty clear now that it 
did not belong to my South African memories. I am 
not a superstitious man, but the way that little kranz 
clung to my mind made me think it was a warning sent 
by Providence. I was pretty certain that when I 
clapped eyes on it I would be In for bad trouble. 

Ail morning we travelled up that broad vale, and 
just before noon it spread out wider, the road dipped 
to the water's edge, and I saw before me the white 
roofs of a town. The snow was deep now, and lay 
down to the riverside, but the sky had cleared, and 
against a space of blue heaven some peaks to the south 
rose glittering like jewels. The arches of a bridge^ 
spanning two forks of the stream, showed in front, and 
as I slowed down at the bend a sentrv's challenge rang 




out from a block-house. We had reached the fortress 
of Erzinghjan, the head-quarters of a Turkish corps 
and the gate of Armenia. 

I showed the man our passports, but he did not 
salute and let us move on. He called another fellow 
from the guard-house, who motioned us to keep pace 
with him as he stumped down a side lane. At the other 
end was a big barracks with sentries outside. The man 
spoke to us in Turkish, which Hussin interpreted. 
There was somebody in that barracks who wanted 
badly to see us. 

"By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, 
quoted Blenkiron softly. "I fear, Major, we'll soon 
be remembering Zion." 

I tried to persuade myself that this was merely the 
red tape of a frontier fortress, but I had an instinct 
that difficulties were in store for us. If Rasta had 
started wiring I was prepared to put up the brazenest 
bluff, for we were still eighty miles from Erzerum, 
and at all costs we were going to be landed there be- 
fore night. 

A fussy staff-officer met us at the door. At the 
sight of us he cried to a friend to come and look. 

"Here ^re the birds safe. ^ A fat man and two lean 
ones and a savage who looks like a Kurd. Call the 
guard and march them off. There's no doubt about 
their identity." 

"Pardon me, sir,'* I said, "but we have no time to 
spare and we'd like to be in Erzerum before the dark. 
I would beg you to get through any formalities as soon 
as possible. This man," and I pointed to the sentry, 
"has our passports." 

"Compose yourself," he said impudently, "you're 
not going on just yet, and when you do it won't be in 



a stolen car." He took the passports and fingered 
them casually. Then something he saw there made 
him cock his eyebrows. 

"Where did you steal these?'* he asked, but with 
less assurance in his tone. 

I spoke very gently. "You seem to be the victim 
of a mistake, sir. These are our papers. We are 
under orders to report ourselves at Erzerum without 
an hour's delay. Whoever hinders us will have to 
answer to General von Liman. We will be obliged 
if you will conduct us at once to the Governor." 

"You can't see General Posselt," he said; "this is 
my business. I have a wire from Siwas that four men 
stole a car belonging to one of Enver Damad's staff. 
It describes you all, and says that two of you are 
notorious spies wanted by the Imperial Government. 
What have you to say to that?" 

"Only that it is rubbish. My good sir, you have 
seen our passes. Our errand is not .to be cried over 
the housetops, but five minutes with General Posselt 
will make things clear. You will be exceedingly sorry 
for it if you delay us another minute." 

He was impressed in spite of himself, and after pull- 
ing his moustache turned on his heel and left us. Pres- 
ently he came back and said very gruffly that the Gov- 
ernor would see us. We followed him along a cor- 
ridor into a big room looking out on the river, where 
an oldish fellow sat in an arm-chair by a stove, writ- 
ing letters with a fountain pen. 

This w^s Posselt, who had been Governor of Er- 
zerum till he fell sick and Ahmed Fevgi took his place. 
He had a peevish mouth and big blue pouches below 
his eyes. He was supposed to be a good engineer and 
to have made Erzerum impregnable, but the look in 



his face gave me the Impression that his reputation 
at the moment was a bit unstable. 

The staff-officer spoke to him in an undertone. 

"Yes, yes, I know," he said testily. "Are these the 
men? They look a pretty lot of scoundrels. What's 
that you say? They deny it. But they've got the can 
They can't deny that. Here, you," and he fixed on 
Blenkiron, "who the devil are you?" 

Blenkiron smiled sleepily at him, not understand* 
ing one word, and I took up the parable. 

"Our passports, sir, give our credentials," I said. 

He glanced through them, and his face lengthened. 

"They're right enough. But what about this story 
of stealing the car?" 

"It is quite true," I said. "But I would prefer to 
use a pleasanter word. You will see from our papers 
that every authority on the road is directed to give us 
the best transport. Our own car broke down, and 
after a long delay we got some wretched horses. It is 
vitally important that we should be in Erzerum with- 
out delay, so I took the liberty of appropriating an 
empty car we found outside an Inn. I am sorry for 
the discomfort of the owners, but our business Is too 
grave to wait." 

"But the telegram says you are notorious spies I" 

I smiled. "Who sent the telegram?" 

"I see no reason why I shouldn't give you his name. 
It was Rasta Bey. You've picked an awkward fellow 
to make an enemy of." 

I did not smile but laughed. "Rasta!" I cried. 
"He's one of Enver's satellites. That explains many 
things. I should like a word with you alone, sir." 

He nodded to the staff-officer, and when he had 



gone I put on my most Bible face and looked as Im- 
portant as a provincial niayor at a royal visit. 

"I can speak freely," I said, "for I am speaking to 
a soldier of Germany. There is no love lost between 
Enver and those I serve. I need not tell you that. 
This Rasta thought he had found a chance of delaying 
us, so he invents this trash about spies. These 
Comitadjis have spies on the brain. • . . Espedally he 
hates Frau von Einem.** 

He jumped at the name. 

"You have orders from her?" he asked, in a re- 
spectful tone. 

"Why, yes," I answered, "and those orders will not 

He got up and walked to a table, whence he turned 
a puzzled face on me. "Fm torn in two between the 
Turks and my own countrymen. If I please one I 
offend the other, and the result is a damnable confu- 
sion. You can go on to Erzerum, but I shall send a 
man with you to see that you report to headquarters 
there. Fm sorry, gentlemen, but Fm obliged to take 
no chances in this business. Rasta's got a grievance 
against you, but you can easily hide behind the lady's 
skirts. She passed through this town two days ago." 

Ten minutes later we were coasting through the slush 
of the narrow streets with a stolid German fieutenant 
sitting beside me. 

The afternoon was one of those rare days when in 
the pauses of snow you have a spell of weather as mild 
as May. I remembered several like It during our 
winter's training in Hampshire. The road was a fine 
one, well engineered, and well kept too, considering 
the amount of traffic. We were little delayed, for it 
was sufficiently broad to let lis pass troops and trans- 



port without slacking pace. The fellow at my side 
was good-humoured enough, but his presence naturally 
put the lid on our conversation. I didn't want to talk, 
however- I was trying to piece together a plan, and 
making very little of it, for I had nothing to go upon. 
We must find Hilda von Einem and Sandy, and be- 
tween us we must wreck the Greenmantle business. 
That done, it didn't matter so much what happened to 
us. As I reasoned it out, the Turks must be in a bad 
way, and, unless they got a fillip from Greenmantle, 
would crumple up before the Russians. In the rout 
I hoped we might get a chance to change our sides. 
But it was no good looking so far forward; the first 
thing was to get to Sandy. 

Now I was still in the mood of reckless bravado 
which 1 had got from bagging the car. I did not realise 
how thin our story was, and how easily Rasta might 
have a big graft at head-quarters. If I had, I would 
have shot out the German lieutenant long before we 
got to Erzerum^ and found some way of getting mixed 
up in the ruck of the population. Hussin could have 
helped me to that. I was getting so confident since our 
interview with Posselt that I thought I could bluff the 
whole outfit. 

But my main business that afternoon was pure non- 
sense. I was trying to find my little hill. At every 
turn of the road I expected to see the castrol before us. 
You must know that ever since I could stand I have 
been crazy about high mountains. My father took me 
to Basutoland when I was a boy, and I reckon I have 
scrambled over almost every bit of upland south of 
the Zambesi, from the Hottentots Holland to the Zout- 
pansberg, and from the ugly yellow kopjes of Damara- 
land to the noble cliffs of Mont aux Sources. One of 



the things I had looked forward to in coming home 
was the chance of climbing the Alps. But now I was 
among peaks that I fancied were bigger than the Alps, 
and I could hardly keep my eyes on the road. I was 
pretty certain that my castrol was among them, for 
that dream had taken an almighty hold on my mind. 
Funnily enough, I was ceasing to think it a place of 
evil omen, for one soon forgets the atmosphere of 
nightmare. But I was convinced that it was a thing 
I was destined to see, and to see pretty soon. 

Darkness fell when we were some miles short of 
the city; and the last part was difficult driving. On 
both sides of the road transport and engineer's stores 
were parked, and some of it strayed into the highway. 
I noticed lots of small details — ^machine-gun detach- 
ments, signalling parties, squads of stretcher-bearers — 
which mean the fringe of an army, and as soon as the 
night began the white fingers of searchlights began to 
grope in the skies. 

And then, above the hum of the roadside, rose the 
voice of the great guns. The shells were bursting four 
or five miles away, and the guns must have been as 
many more distant. But in that upland pocket of 
plain in the frosty night they sounded most intimately 
near. They kept up their solemn litany, with a min- 
ute's interval between each — ^no rafale which rumbles 
like a drum, but the steady persistence of artillery ex- 
actly ranged on a target. I judged they must be bom- 
barding the outer forts, and once there came a loud 
explosion and a red glare as if a magazine had suf- 

It was a sound I had not heard for five months, and 
it fairly crazed me. I remembered how I had first 



heard it on the ridge before Laventie. Then I had 
been half afraid, half solemnised, but every nerve had 
been quideened. Then it had been the new thing 
in my life that held me breathless with antidpation; 
now it was the old thing, the thing I had shared with 
so many good fellows, my proper work, and the only 
task for a man. At the sound of the guns I felt that 
I was moving in natural air once more. I felt that I 
was coming home. 

We were stopped at a long line of ramparts, and a 
German sergeant stared at us till he saw the lieutenant 
beside me, when he saluted and we passed on. Almost 
at once we dipped into narrow twisting streets, choked 
with soldiers, where it was a hard business to steer. 
There were few lights — only now and then the flare of 
a torch which showed the grey stone houses, with every 
window latticed and shuttered. I had put out my head- 
lights and had only side lamps, so we had to pick our 
way gingerly through the labyrinth. I hoped we would 
strike Sandy's quarters soon, for we were all pretty 
empty, and a frost had set in which made our thick 
coats seem as thin as paper. 

The lieutenant did the guiding. We had to present 
our passports, and I anticipated no more difficulty 
than in landing from the boat at Boulogne. But I 
wanted to get it over, for my hunger pinched me, and 
it was fearsome cold. Still the guns went on, like 
hounds baying before a quarry. The dty was out 
of range, but there were strange lights on the ridge to 
the east. 

At last we reached our goal and marched through a 
fine old carved archway into a courtyard, and thenco 
into a draughty hall. 

*Tou must see the Sektionschef^^^ said our guide. 



I looked round to see If we were all there, and 
noticed that Hussin had disappeared. It did not mat* 
ter, for he was not on the passports. 

We followed as we were directed through an open 
door. There was a man standing with his back to- 
wards us looking at a wall map, a very big man with 
a neck that bulged over his collar. 

I would have known that neck among a million. 
At the sight of it I made a half-turn to bolt back. It 
was too late, for the door had closed behind us, and 
there were two armed sentries beside it. 

The man slewed round and looked into my eyes. I 
had a despairing hope that I might bluff it out, for I 
was in different clothes and had shaved my beard. But 
you cannot spend ten minutes in a death-gripple with- 
out your adversary getting to know you. 

He went very pale, then recollected himself and 
twisted his features into the old grin. 

"So," he said, "the little Dutchman I We meet 
after many days." 

It was no good lying or saying anytliing. I shut my 
teeth and waited. 

"And you, Herr Blenkiron? I never liked the look 
of you. You babbled too much, like all your damned 

"I guess your personal dislikes haven't got any- 
thing to do with the matter," said Blenkiron, calmly. 
"If you're the boss here, I'll thank you to cast your eye 
over these passports, for we can't stand waiting for 

This fairly angered hint. "I'll teach you manners," 
he cried, and took a step forward to reach for his 
shoulder — the game he had twice played with me. 

Blenkiron never took his hands from his coat 




pockets* **Kccp your distance," he drawled in a new 
voice. **I'vc got you covered, and 1*11 make a hole 
in your bullet head if you lay a hand on me," 

With an effort Stumm recovered himself. He rang 
a bell and fell to smiling. An orderly appeared to 
whom be spoke in Turkish, and presendy a file of 
soldiers entered Ac room. 

"Fm going to have you disarmed, gendemen," he 
said. **We can conduct our conversation more pleas- 
antly without pistols." 

It was idle to resist. We surrendered our arms, 
Peter almost in tears with vexation. Stunun swung 
his legs over a diair, rested his chin on the back and 
looked at me. 

**Your game is up, you know," he said. "These 
fools of Turkish police said the Dutchmen were dead, 
but I had the happier inspiration. I believed the good 
God had spared them for me. When I got Rasta's 
telegram I was certain, for your doings reminded me 
of a little trick you once played me on the Schwandorf 
road. But I didn't think to find this plump old part- 
ridge," and he smiled at Blenkiron. "Two eminent 
American engineers and' their, servant bound for Meso- 
potamia on business of high Government importance I 
It was a good lie ; but if I had been in Constantinople it 
would have had a short life. Rasta and his friends 
are no concern of mine. You can trick them as you 
please. But you have attempted to win the confidence 
of a certain lady, and her interests are mine. Like* 
wise you have offended me, and I do not forgive. By 
God," he cried, his voice growing shrill with passion, 
"by the time I have done with you your mothers in 
their graves will weep that they ever bore you !" 
It was Blenkiron who spoke. His voice was as 




level as the chairman's of a bogus company and it fell 
on that turbid atmosphere like acid on grease. 

"I don't take no stock in high-falutin*. If you're 
trying to scare me by that dime-novel talk I guess 
you've hit the wrong man. You're like the sweep that 
stuck in the chimney, a bit too big for your job. I 
reckon you've a talent for ro-mance that's just wasted 
in soldiering. But if you're going to play any ugly 
games on me I'd like you to know that I'm an Ameri- 
can citizen, and pretty well considered in my own 
country and in yours, and you'll sweat blood for it 
later. That's a fair warning. Colonel Stumm." 

I don't know what Stumm's plans were, but that 
speech of Blenkiron's put into his mind just the needed 
amount of uncertainty. You see, he had Peter and me 
right enough, but he hadn't properly connected Blen- 
kiron with us, and was afraid either to hit out at all 
three, or to let Blenkiron go. It was lucky for us 
that the American had cut such a dash in the Father- 

"There is no hurry," he said blandly. "We shall 
have long happy hours together. I'm going to take 
you all home with me, for I am a hospitable soul. You 
will be safer with me than in the town gaol, for it's a 
trifle draughty. It lets things in, and it might let 
things out." 

Again he gave an order, and we were marched out, 
each with a soldier at his elbow. The three of us 
were bundled into the back seat of the car, while two 
men sat before us with their rifles between their knees, 
one got up behind on the baggage rack, and one sat be- 
side Stumm's chauffeur. Packed like sardines we 
moved into the bleak streets, above which the stars 
twinkled in ribbons of sky. 



Hussin had disappeared from the face of the earth, 
and quite right too. He was a good fellow, but he 
had no call to mix himself up in our troubles. 




I'VE often regretted," said Blenkiron, "that miracle* 
have left off happening." 

He got no answer, for I was feeling the walls for 
something in the nature of a window. 

"For I reckon," he went on, "that it wants a good 
old-fashioned copper-bottomed miracle to get us out of 
this fix. It's plumb against all my principles. I've 
spent my life using the talents God gave me to keep 
things from getting to the point of rude violence, and 
so far I've succeeded. But now you come along. 
Major, and you hustle a respectable middle-aged dti"* 
zen into an abori^nal mix-up. It's mighty indelicate. 
I reckon the next move is up to you, for I'm no good 
at the housebreaking stunt." 

"No more am I," I answered; "but I'm hanged if 
I'll chuck up the sponge. Sandy's somewhere outside, 
and he's got a hefty crowd at his heels." 

I simply could not feel the despair which by every 
law of common sense was due to the case. The guns 
had intoxicated me. I could still hear their deep voices, 
though yards of wood and stone separated us from 
the upper air. 

What vexed us most was our hunger. Barring a few 
mouthfuls on the road we had eaten nothing since the 
morning, and as our diet for the past days had not 



been generous we had some leeway to make up. Stumm 
had never looked near us since we were shoved into 
the car. We had been brought to some kind of house 
and bundled into a place like a wine-cellar. It was 
pitch dark, and after feeling round the walls, first on 
my feet and then with Peter on my back, I dedded 
that there were no windows. It must have been lit and 
ventilated by some lattice in the ceiling. There was 
not a stick of furniture in the place : nothing but a damp 
earth floor and bare stone sides. The door was a relic 
of the Iron Age, and I could hear the paces of a sentry 
outside it. 

When things get to the pass that nothing you can do 
can better them, the only thing is to live for the mo- 
ment. All three of us sought in sleep a refuge from 
our empty stomachs. The floor was the poorest kind 
of bed, but we rolled up our coats for pillows and made 
the best of it. Soon I heard by Peter's regular breath- 
ing that he was asleep, and I presendy followed 
him. • • . 

I was awakened by a light touch on my cheek. I 
thought it was Peter, for it was the old hunter's tridc 
of waking a man so that he makes no noise. But 
another voice spoke in my ear. It told me that there 
was no time to lose and to rise and follow, and the 
voice was the voice of Hussin. ( 

Peter was awake, and we stirred Blenkiron out of 
heavy slumber. We were bidden take oflF our boots 
and hang them by their laces round our neck as coun- 
try boys do when they want to go barefoot. Then 
we tiptoed to the door, which was ajar. 

Outside was a passage with a flight of steps at one 
end which led to the open air. On these steps lay a 
faint shine of starlight, and by its help I saw a man 



huddled up at the foot of them. It was our sentry, 
neatly and scientifically gagged and tied up. 

The steps brought us to a little courtyard about 
which the walls of the houses rose like cliffs. We 
halted while Hussin listened intently. Apparently 
the coast was dear and our guide led us to one side, 
which was clothed by a stout wooden trellis. Once It 
may have supported fig-trees, but now the plants were 
dead and only withered tendrils and rotten stumps re- 

It was child's play for Peter and me to go up that 
trellis, but it was the deuce and all for Blenkiron. 
He was in poor condition and puffed like a grampus, 
and he seemed to have no sort of head for heights. 
But he was as game as a buffalo, and started in gal- 
lantly till his arms gave out and he fairly stuck. So 
Peter and I went up on both sides of him, taking an 
arm apiece, as I had once seen done to a man with 
vertigo in the Kloof Chimney on Table Mountain. I 
was mighty thankful when I got him panting on the 
top and Hussin had shinned up beside us. 

We crawled along a broadish wall, with an inch or 
two of powdery snow on it, and then up a sloping but- 
tress on to the flat roof of the house. It was a miser- 
able business for Blenkiron, who would certainly have 
fallen if he could have seen what was below him, and 
Peter and I had to stand to attention all the time. 
Then began a more difficult job. Hussin pointed out 
a ledge which took us past a stack of chimneys to an- 
other building slightly lower, this being the route he 
fancied. At that I sat down resolutely and put on my 
boots, and the others followed. Frost-bitten feet would 
be a poor asset in this kind of travelling. 

It was a bad step for Blenkiron, and we only got 



him past it by Peter and I spread-eagling ourselves 
against the wall and passing him in front of us with 
his face towards us. We had no grip, and if he had 
stumbled we should all three have been in the court- 
yard. But we got it over, and dropped as softly as 
possible on the roof of the next house. Hussin had 
his finger to his lips, and I soon saw why. For there 
was a lighted window in the wall we had descended. 

Some imp prompted me to wait behind and explore. 
The others followed Hussin and were soon at the far 
end of the roof, where a kind of wooden pavilion 
broke the line, while I tried to get a look inside. The 
window was curtained, and had two folding sashes 
which clasped in the middle. Through a gap in the 
curtain I saw a little lamp-lit room and a big man sit- 
ting at a table littered with papers. 

I watched him, fascinated, as he turned to consult 
some paper and made a marking on the map before 
him. Then he suddenly rose, stretched himself, cast 
a glance at the window, and went out of the room, 
making a great clatter in descending the wooden stair- 
case. He left the door ajar and the lamp burning. 

I guessed he had gone to have a look at his prisoners, 
in which case the show was up. But what filled my 
mind was an insane desire to get a sight of his map. 
It was one of those mad impulses which utterly cloud 
right reason, a thing independent of any plan, a crazy 
leap in the dark. But it was so strong that I would 
have pulled that window out by its frame, if need be, 
to get to that table. 

There was no need, for the flimsy clasp gave at the 
first pull, and the sashes swung open. I scrambled in, 
after listening for steps on the stairs. I crumpled up 
the map and stuck it in my pocket, as well as the paper 




from which I had seen him copying. Very carefully 
I removed all marks of my entry, brushed away the 
snow from the boards, pulled back the curtain and got 
out and refastened the window. Still there was no 
sound of his return. Then I started off to catch up to 
the others. 

I found them shivering in the roof pavilion. 
**WeVe got to move pretty fast," I said, "for Fvc 
just been burgling old Stumm's private cabinet. Hus- 
sin, my lad, d'you hear that? They may be after us 
at any moment, so I pray Heaven we soon strike bet- 
ter going." 

Hussin understood. He led us at a smart pace 
from one roof to another, for here they were all of the 
same height, and only low parapets and screens di- 
vided these. We never saw a soul, for a winter's 
night is not the time you choose to saunter on your 
house-top. I kept my cars open for trouble behind 
us, and in about five minutes I heard it. A riot of 
voices broke out, with one louder than the rest, and, 
looking back, I saw lanterns waving. Stumm had 
realised his loss and found the tracks of the thief. 

Hussin gave one glance behind and then hurried us 
on at a break-neck pace, with old Blenkiron gasping 
and stumbling. The shouts behind us grew louder, as if 
some eye quicker than the rest had caught our move- 
ment in the starlit darkness. It was very evident that 
if they kept up the chase we should be caught, for 
Blenkiron was about as useful on a roof as a hippo. 

Presently we came to a big drop, and with a kind of 
ladder down it, and at the foot a shallow ledge running 
to the left into a pit of darkness. Hussin gripped my 
arm and pointed down it. "Follow it," he whispered, 
"and you will reach a roof which spans a street. 



Cross it, and on the other side is a mosque. Turn to 
the right there and you will find easy going for fifty 
metres, well screened from the higher roofs. For Al- 
lah's sake keep in the shelter of the screen. Some- 
where there I will join you." 

He hurried us along the ledge for a bit and then 
went back, and with snow from the comers covered 
up our tracks. After that he went straight on him- 
self, taking strange short steps like a bird. I saw his 
game. He wanted to lead our pursuers after him, and 
he had to multiply the tracks, and trust to Stumm's 
fellows now spotting that they all were made by one 

But I had quite enough to think of in getting 
Blenkiron . along that ledge. He was pretty nearly 
foundered, he was in a sweat of terror, and as a mat- 
ter of fact he was taking one of the biggest risks 
of his life, for we had no rope and his neck depended 
on himself. But he ventured gallantly, and we got 
to the roof which ran across the street. That was 
easier, though ticklish enough, but it was no joke 
skirting the cupola of that infernal mosque. Then 
we found the parapet and breathed more freely, for 
we were now under shelter from the direction of 
danger. I spared a moment to look round, and 
thirty yards off, across the street, I saw a weird 

The hunt was proceeding along the roofs parallel 
to the one we were lodged on. I saw the flicker of 
the lanterns, waved up and down as the bearers 
slipped in the snow, and I heard their cries like hounds 
on a trail. Stumm was not among them : he had 
not the shape for that sort of business. They passed 
us and continued to our left, now hid by a jutting 



chimney, now clear to view against the sky line. The 
roofs they were on were perhaps six feet higher than 
ours, so even from our shelter we could mark their 
course. If Hussin were going to be hunted across 
Erzerum it was a bad look-out for us, for I hadn't 
the foggiest notion where we were or where we were 
going to. 

But as we watched we saw something more. The 
wavering lanterns were now three or four hundred 
yards away, but on the roofs just opposite us across 
the street there appeared a man's figure. I thought 
it was one of the hunters, and we all crouched lower, 
and then I recognised the lean agility of Hussin. He 
must have doubled back, keeping in the dusk to the 
left of the pursuit, and taking big risks in the open 
places. But there he was now, exactly in front of 
us, and separated only by the width of the narrow 

He took a step backward, gathered himself for a 
spring, and leaped clean over the gap. Like a cat 
he lighted on the parapet above us, and stumbled 
forward with the impetus right on our heads. , 

"We are safe for the moment," he whispered, "but 
when they miss me they will return. We must make 
good haste." 

The next half-hour was a maze of twists and turns, 
slipping down icy roofs and climbing icier chimney- 
stadcs. The stir of the city had gone, and from the 
black streets below came scarcely a sound. But al- 
ways the great tattoo of guns beat in the east. Gradu- 
ally we descended to a lower level, till we emerged 
on the top of a shed in a courtyard. Hussin gave 
an odd sort of cry, like a demented owl, and some- 
thing began to stir below us. 


It was a big covered wagon, full of bundles of 
forage, and drawn by four mules. As we descended 
from the shed into the frozen litter of thfe yard, a 
man came out of the shade and spoke low to Hussin. 
Peter and I lifted Blenkiron into the cart, and scram- 
bled in beside him, and I never felt anything more 
blessed than the warmth and softness of that place 
after the frosty roofs. I had forgotten all about my 
hunger, and only yearned for sleep. Presently the 
wagon moved out of the courtyard into the dark 

Then Blenkiron began to laugh, a deep internal 
rumble which shook him violently and brought down 
a heap of forage on his head. I thought it was hys- 
terics, the relief from the tension of the past hour. 
But it wasn't. His body might be out of training, 
but there was never anything the matter with his 
nerves. He was consumed with honest merriment. 

"Say, Major," he gasped, "I don't usually cherish 
dislikes for my fellow men, but somehow I didn't cot- 
ton to Colonel Stumm. But now I almost love him. 
You hit his jaw very bad in Germany, and now you've 
annexed his private file, and I guess it's important or 
he wouldn't have been so mighty set on steeple-chasing 
over those roofs. I haven't done such a thing since 
I broke into neighbour Brown's woodshed to steal his 
tame 'possum, and I guess that's forty years back. 
It's the first piece of genooine amusement I've struck 
in this game, and I haven't laughed as much since 
old Jim Hooker told the tale of 'Cousin Sally Dillard* 
when we were hunting ducks in Michigan and his wife's 
brother had an apoplexy in the night and died of it." 

To the accompaniment of Blenkiron's chuckles I 



did what Peter had done in the first minute, and fell 

When I woke it was still dark. The wagon had 
stopped in a courtyard which seemed to be shaded 
by great trees. The snow lay deeper here, and by 
the feel of the air we had left the city and climbed 
to higher ground. There were big buildings on one 
side, and on the other what looked like the side of a 
hill. No lights were shown, the place was in pro- 
found gloom, but I felt the presence near me of others 
besides Hussin and the driver. 

We were hurried, Blenkiron only half awake, into 
an outbuilding, and then down some steps to a roomy 
cellar. There Hussin lit a lantern, which showed what 
had once been a storehouse for fruit. Old husks 
still strewed the floor and the plade smelt of apples. 
Straw had been piled in comers for beds, and there 
was a rude table and a divan of boards covered with 

*'Where are we ?" I asked Hussin. 

"In the house of the Master," he said. "You will 
be safe here, but you must keep still till the Master 

"Is the Prankish lady here?" I asked. 

Hussin nodded, and from a wallet brought out some 
food — raisins and cold meat and a loaf of bread. We 
fell on it like vultures, and as we ate Hussin disap- 
peared. I noticed that he locked the door behind 

As soon as the meal was ended the others returned 
to their interrupted sleep. But I was wakeful now 
and my mind was sharp-set on many things. I got 
Blenkiron's electric torch and lay down on the divan 
to study Stumm's map. 



The first glance showed me that I had lit on a treas- 
ure. It was the staff map of the Erzerum defences, 
showing the forts and the field trenches, with little 
notes scribbled in Stumm's neat small handwriting. I 
got out the big map which I had taken from Blen- 
kiron, and made out the general lie of the land. I saw 
the horseshoe of Deve Boyun to the east which the 
Russian guns were battering. It was just like the kind 
of squared artillery map we used in France, i in 
10,000, with spidery red lines showing the trenches, 
but with the difference that it was the Turkish trenches 
that were shown in detail and the Russian only roughly 
indicated. The thing was really a confidential plan of 
the whole Erzerum enceinte, and would be worth un- 
told gold to the enemy. No wonder Stumm had been 
in a wax at its loss. 

The Deve Boyun lines seemed to me monstrously 
strong, and I remembered the merits of the Turk 
as a fighter behind strong defences. It looked as if 
Russia were up against a second Plevna or a new 

Then I took to studying the flanks. South lay the 
Palantuken range of mountains, with forts defending 
the passes, where ran the roads to Mush and Lake 
Van. That side, too, looked pretty strong. North 
in the valley of the Euphrates I made out two big 
forts, Tafta and Kara Gubek, defending the road 
from Olti. On this part of the map Stumm's notes 
were plentiful, and I gave them all my attention. I 
remembered Blenkiron's news about the Russians ad- 
vancing on a broad front, for it was clear that Stumm 
was taking pains about the flank of the fortress. 

Kara Gubek was the point of interest. It stood 
on a rib of land between two peaks, which from the 



contour lines rose very steep. So long as it was held 
it was clear that no invader could move down the 
Euphrates glen. Stumm had appended a note to the 
peaks — ''not fortified"; and about two miles to the 
north-east there was a red cross and the name ''PrjevaU 
sky" I assumed that to be the farthest point yet 
reached by the right wing of the Russian attack. 

Then I turned to the paper from which Stumm had 
copied the jottings on to his map. It was typewritten, 
and consisted of notes on different points. One was 
headed ''Kara Gubek" and read: "No time to fortify 
adjacent peaks. Difficult for enemy to get batteries 
there, but not impossible. This is the real point of 
danger, for if Prjevalsky wins the peaks Kara Gubek 
and Tafta must fall, and enemy will be on left rear of 
Deve Boyun main position." 

I was soldier enough to see the tremendous impor- 
tance of this note. On Kara Gubek depended the 
defence of Erzerum, and it was a broken reed if one 
knew where the weakness lay. Yet, searching the 
map again, I could not believe that any mortal com- 
mander would see any chance in the adjacent peaks, 
even if he thought them unfortified. That was infor- 
mation confined to the Turkish and German staff. But 
if it could be conveyed to the Grand Duke he would 
have Erzerum in his power in a day. Otherwise he 
Vould go on battering at the Deve Boyun ridge for 
weeks, and long ere he won it the Gallipoli divisions 
would arrive, he would be outnumbered by two to 
one, and his chance would have vanished^ 

My discovery set me pacing up and down that cellar 
in a perfect fever of excitement. I longed for wire- 
less, a carrier pigeon, an aeroplane — anything to 
bridge over that space of half a dozen miles between 




me and the Russian lines. It was maddening to have 
stumbled on vital news and to be wholly unable to 
use it. How could three fuptives in a cellar, with 
the whole hornet's nest of Turkey and Germany stirred 
up against them, hope to send this message of life 
and death ? 

I went back to the map and examined the near- 
est Russian positions. They were carefully marked. 
Prjevalsky in the north, the main force beyond Deve 
Bo}ain, and the southern column up to the passes of 
the Palantuken but not yet across them. I could not 
know which was nearest to us till I discovered where 
we were. And as I thought of this I began to see 
the rudiments of a desperate plan. It depended on 
Peter, now slumbering like a tired dog on a couch 
of straw. 

Hussin had locked the door and I must wait for 
information till he came back. But suddenly I no- 
ticed a trap in the roof, which had evidently been used 
for raising and lowering the cellar's stores. It looked 
ill-fitting and might be unbarred, so I pulled the table 
below it, and found that with a little effort I could 
raise the flap. I knew I was taking immense risks, 
but I was so keen on my plan that I disregarded them. 
After some trouble I got the thing prised open, and 
catching the edges of the hole with my fingers raised 
my body and got my knees on the edge. 

It was the outbuilding of which our refuge was 
the cellar, and it was half filled with light. Not a 
soul was there, and I hunted about till I found what 
I wanted. This was a ladder leading to a sort of 
loft, which in turn gave access to the roof. Here I 
had to be very careful, for I might be overlooked from 
the high buildings. But by good luck there was a 



trellis for grape vines across the roof, which gave 
a kind of shelter. Lying flat on my face I stared 
over a great expanse of country. 

Looking north I saw the city in a haze of morning 
smoke, and beyond, the plain of the Euphrates and 
the opening of the glen where the river left the hills. 
Up there, among the snowy heights, were Tafta and 
Kara Gubek. To the east was the ridge of Deve 
Boyun, where the mist was breaking before the win- 
ter's sun. On the roads up to it I saw transport mov- 
ing, I saw the circle of the inner forts, but for a 
moment the guns were silent. South rose a great 
wall of white mountain, which I took to be the Palan- 
tuken. I could see the roads running to the passes, 
and the smoke of camps and horse-lines right under 
the cliffs. 

I had learned what I needed. We were in the 
purlieus of a big country house two or three miles 
south of the city. The nearest point of the Russian 
front was somewhere in the foothills of the Palantuken. 

As I descended I heard, thin and faint and beau- 
tiful, like the cry of a wild bird, the muezzin from 
the minarets of Erzerum. 

When I dropped through the trap the others were 
awake. Hussin was setting food on the table, and 
viewing my descent with anxious disapproval. 

"It's all right," I said; "I won't do it again, for 
I've found out all I wanted. Peter, old man, the big- 
gest job of your life is before you I'* 




PETER scarcely looked up from his breakfast. 
"Fm willing, Dick," he said. "But you mustn't 
ask me to be friends with Stumm. He makes my 
stomach cold, that one." 

"Not to be friends with him, but to bust him and all 
his kind." 

"Then Tm ready," said Peter cheerfully. "What 
is it?" 

I spread out the map on the divan. There was no 
light in the place but Blenkiron's electric torch, for 
Hussin had put out the lantern. Peter got hi-s no«e 
into the things at once, for his intelligence work in 
the Boer War had made him handy with maps. It 
didn't want much telling from me to explain to him 
the importance of the one I had looted. 

"That news is worth many million pounds," said he, 
wrinkling his brows, and scratching delicately the tip 
of his left ear. It was a way he had when he was 

"How can wc get it to our friends?" 

Peter cogitated. "There is but one way. A man 
must take it. Once, I remember, when we fought the 
Matabele it was necessary to find whether the chief 
Makapan was living. Some said he had died, others 
that he'd gone over the Portuguese border, but I bc- 



lieved he lived. No native could tell us, and since 
his kraal was well defended no runner could get 
through. So it was necessary to send a man." 

Peter lifted up his head and laughed. **The man 
found the chief Makapan. He was very much alive, 
and made good shooting with a shot-gun. But the 
man brought the chief Makapan out of his kraal and 
handed him over to the Mounted Police. You re- 
member Captain ArcoU, Dick — ^Jim ArcoU? Well, 
Jim laughed so much that he broke open a wound 
in his head, and had to have the doctor." 

**You were that man, Peter," I said. 

"Ja. I was the man. There are more ways of get- 
ting into kraals than there are ways of keeping people 

**Will you take this chance?" 

"For certain, Dick, I am getting stiff with doing 
nothing, and if I sit in houses much longer I shall 
grow old. A man bet me five pounds on the ship that 
I could not get through a trench-line, and if there 
had been a trench-line handy I would have taken him 
on. I will be very happy, Dick, but I do not say I 
will succeed. It is new country to me, and I will be 
hurried, and hurry makes bad stalldng." 

I showed him what I thought the likeliest place — 
in the spurs of the Palantuken mountains. Peters' way 
of doing things was all his own. He scraped earth and 
plaster out of a corner and sat down to make a little 
model of a landscape on the table, following the 
contours of the map. He did it extraordinarily 
neatly, for, like all great hunters, he was as deft as a 
weaver-bird. He puzzled over it for a long time, 
and conned the map till he must have got it by heart. 
Then he took his field-glasses — a very good single 



Zeiss which was part of the spoils from Rasta's 
motor-car — and announced that he was going to follow 
my example and get on the house-top. Presently his 
legs disappeared through the trap, and Blenkiron and 
I were left to our reflections. 

Peter must have found something uncommon Inter- 
esting, for he stayed on the roof the better part of 
the day. It was a dull job for us, since there was no 
light, and Blenkiron had not even the consolation of 
a game of Patience. But for all that he was in good 
spirits, for he had had no dyspepsia since we left Con- 
stantinople, and announced that he believed he was 
at last getting even with his darned duodenum. As 
for me I was pretty restless, for I could not imagine 
what was detaining Sandy. It was clear that our pres- 
ence must have been kept secret from Hilda von 
Einem, for she was a pal of Stumm's, and he must 
by now have blown the gaff on Peter and me. How 
long could this secrecy last? I asked myself. We had 
now no sort df protection in the whole outfit. Rasta 
and the Turks wanted our blood: so did Stumm and 
the Germans; and once the lady found we were de- 
ceiving her she would want it most of all. Our only 
help was Sandy, and he gave no sign of his existence. 
I began to fear that with him, too, things had mis- 

And yet I wasn't really depressed, only impatient. 
I could never again get back to the beastly stagna- 
tion of that Constantinople week. The guns kept me 
cheerful. There was the devil of a bombardment 
all day, and the thought that our Allies were thun- 
dering there half a dozen miles off gave me a perfectly 
groundless hope. If they burst through the defence 
Hilda von Einem and her prophet and all our enemies 



would be overwhelmed in the deluge. And that blessed 
chance depended very much on old Peter, now brood- 
ing like a pigeon on the house-tops. 

It was not till the late afternoon that Hussin ap- 
peared again. He took no notice of Peter's absence, 
but lit a lantern and set it on the table. Then he 
went to the door and waited. Presently a light step 
fell on the stairs, and Hussin drew back to let some 
one enter. He promptly departed and I heard the 
key turn in the lock behind him. 

Sandy stood there, but a new Sandy who made Blen- 
kiron and me jump to our feet. The pelts and skin-cap 
had gone, and he wore instead a long linen tunic 
clasped at the waist by a broad girdle. A strange 
green turban^ adorned his head, and as he pushed it 
back I saw that his hair had been shaved. He looked 
like some acolyte — a weary acolyte, for there was no 
spring in his walk or nerve in his carriage. He 
dropped numbly on the divan and laid his head in his 
hands. The lantern showed his haggard eyes with 
dark lines beneath them. 

"Good God, old man, have you been sick?'* I cried. 

"Not sick," he said hoarsely. "My body is right 
enough, but the last few days I have been living in 

Blenkiron nodded sympathetically. That was how 
he himself would have described the company of the 

I marched across to him and gripped both his 

"Look at me," I said, "straight in the eyes." 

His eyes were like a sleep-walker's, unwinking, un- 
seeing. "Great heavens, man, you've been drugged 1" 
I said. 



"Drugged," he cried, with a weary laugh. "Yes, 
I have baen drugged, but not by any physic. No 
one has been doctoring my food. But you can't go 
through hell without getting your eyes red-hot." 

I kept my grip on his wrists. "Take your time, 
old chap, and tell us about it. Blenkiron and I are 
Here, and old Peter's on the roof not far off. We'll 
look after you." 

"It does me good to hear your voice, Dick," he 
said. "It reminds me of clean, honest things." 

"They'll come back, never fear. We're at the last 
lap now. One more spurt and it's over. You've got 
to tell me what the new snag is. Is it that woman?" 

He shivered like a frightened colt. "Woman 1" 
he cried. "Does a woman drag a man through the 
nether-pit? She's a she-devil. Oh, it isn't madness 
that's wrong with her. She's as sane as you and as 
cool as Blenkiron. Her life is an infernal game of 
chess, and she plays with souls for pawns. She is evil 
—evil — evil. . . ." And once more he buried his 
head in his hands. 

It was Blenkiron who brought sense into this hectic 
atmosphere. His slow, beloved drawl was an anti- 
septic against nerves. 

"Say, boy," he said, "I feel just like you about 
the lady. But our job is not to investigate her char- 
acter. Her Maker will do that good and sure some 
day. We've got to figure how to circumvent her, and 
for that you've got to tell us what exactly'® been oc- 
curring since we parted company." 

Sandy pulled himself together with a great effort. 

"Greenmantle died that night I saw you. Wc 
buried him secretly by her order in the garden of 
the villa. Then came the trouble about his suc- 



cessor. . . . The four Ministers would be no party 
to a swindle. They were honest men, and vowed that 
their task now was to make a tomb for their master 
and pray for the rest of their days at his shrine. They 
were as immovable as a granite hill, and she knew 
it. . . . Then they too died." 

"Murdered?" I gasped. 

"Murdered ... all four in one morning. I do 
not ^ know how, but I helped to bury them. Oh, she 
has Germans and Kurds to do her foul work, but their 
hands were clean compared to hers. Pity me, Dick, 
for I have seen honesty and virtue put to the sham^ 
bles and have abetted the deed when it was done. It 
will haunt me till my dying day." 

I did not stop to console him, for my mind was 
on fire with his news. 

"Then the prophet is gone, and die humbug is 
over," I cried. # 

"The prophet still lives. She has found a suc- 

He stood up in his linen tunic. 

"Why do I wear these clothes? Because I am 
Greenmantle, I am the Kaaba-i-hurriyeh for all Islam. 
In three days' time I will reveal myself to my people 
and wear on my breast the green ephod of the 

He broke off with an hysterical laugh. 

"Only you see, I won't. I will cut my throat, first." 

"Cheer up!" said Blenkiron soothingly. "We'll 
find some prettier way than that." 

"There is no way," he said; "no way but death. 
We're done for, all of us. Hussin got you out of 
Stumm's clutches, but you're in danger every moment. 



At the best you have three days, and then you, too, 
will be dead." 

I had no words to reply. This change in the bold 
and unshakable Sandy took my breath away. 

"She made me her accomplice," he went on. "I 
should have killed her on the graves of those innocent 
men. But instead I did all she asked, and joined in 
her game. . . . She was very candid, you know. . . . 
She cares no more than Enver for the faith of Islam. 
She can laugh at it But she has her own dreams, 
and they consume her as a saint is consumed by his 
devotion. She has told me them, and if the day in 
the garden was hell, the days since have been the in- 
nermost fires of Tophet. I think — it is horrible to 
say it — ^that she has got some kind of crazy liking for 
me. When we have reclaimed the East I am to be 
by her side when she rides on her milk-white horse 
into Jerusalem. . . . And there have been moments 
—only moments, I swear to God — when I have been 
fired myself by her madness. . . ." 

Sandy's figure seemed to shrink and his voice grew 
shrill and wild. It was too much for Blenkiron. He 
indulged in a torrent of blasphemy such as I believe 
had never before passed his lips. 

"I'm damned if I'll listen to this God-darned stuff. 
It isn't delicate. You get busy, Major, and pump 
some sense into your afflicted friend." 

I was beginning to see what had happened. Sandy 
was a man of genius — more than anybody I ever 
struck — ^but he had the defects of such high-strung, 
fanciful souls. He would take more than mortal risks, 
and you couldn't scare him by any ordinary terror. 
But let his old conscience get cross-eyed, let him find 
himself in some situation which in his eyes involved 



his honour, and he might go stark crazy. The woman, 
who roused in me and Blenkiron only hatred, could 
catch his imagination and stir in him— for the mo- 
ment only — an unwilling response. And then came 
bitter and morbid repentance, and the last despera- 

It was no time to mince matters. "Sandy, you old 
fool," I cried, "be thankful you have friends to keep 
you from playing the fool. You saved my life at 
Loos, and I'm jolly well going to get you through this 
show. I'm bossing the outfit now, and for all your 
damned prophetic manners you've got to take your 
orders from me. You aren't going to reveal your- 
self to your' people, and still less are you going to 
cut your throat. Greenmantle will avenge the mur- 
der of his forerunners, and make that bedlamite 
woman sorry she was bom. We're going to get clear 
away, and inside of a week we'll be having tea with 
the Grand Duke Nicholas." 

I wasn't bluffing. Puzzled as I was about ways and 
means I had still the blind belief that we should win 
out And as I spoke two legs dangled through the 
trap and a dusty and blinking Peter descended in our 

I took the maps from him and spread them on the 

"First, you must know that we've had an almighty 
piece of luck. Last night Hussin took us for a walk 
over the roofs of Erzerum, and by the blessing of 
Providence I got into Stumm's room and bagged his 
staff map. . . . Look there . . . d'you see his notes ? 
That*s the danger-point of the whole defence. Once 
the Russians get that fort, Kara Gubek, they've turned 
the main position. And it can be got; Stumm knows 



it can; for these two adjacent hills are not held. • . . 
It looks a mad enterprise on paper, but Stumm knows 
that it is possible enough. The question is: Will the 
Russians guess that? I say no, not unless some one 
tells them. Therefore we've by hook or by croak 
got to get that information through to them." 

Sandy's interest in ordinary things was beginning 
to flicker up again. He studied the map and began 
to measure distances. 

"Peter's going to have a try for it He thinks 
there's a sporting chance of his getting through the 
lines. If he does — ^if he gets this map to the Grand 
Duke's staff — ^then Stumm's goose is cooked. In 
three days the Cossacks will be in the streets of 

"What are the chances?" Sandy asked. 

I glanced at Peter. "We're hard-bitten fellows and 
can face the truth. I think the chances against suc- 
cess are about five to one." 

"Two to one," said Peter modestly. "Not worse 
than that. I don't think you're fair to me, Dick, 
my old friend." 

I looked at that lean, tight figure and the gentle, 
resolute face, and I changed my mind. "I'm hanged 
if I think there are any odds," I said. "With any- 
body else it would want a miracle, but with Peter I 
believe the chances are level." 

"Two to one," Peter persisted. "If it was evens 
I wouldn't be interested." 

"Let me go," Sandy cried. "I talk the lingo, and 
can pass as a Turk, and I'm a million times likelier 
to get through. For God's sake, Dick, let me go." 

"Not you. You're wanted here. If you disappear 
the whole show's busted too soon, and the three of 



as left behind will be strung up before morning. • . . 
No, my son. You're going to escape, but it will be in 
company with Blenkiron and me. We've got to blow 
the whole Greenmantle business so high that the bits 

of it will never come to earth again First, tell 

me how many of your fellows will stick by you? I 
mean the Companions." 

"The whole half-dozen. They are very worried 
already about what has happened. She made me 
sound them in her presence, and they were quite ready 
to accept me as Greenmantle's successor. But they 
have their suspicions about what happened at the 
villa, and they've no love for the woman. . . . They'd 
follow me through hell if I bade them, but they would 
rather it was my own show." 

"That's all right," I cried. "It is the one thing 
I've been doubtful about. Now observe this map. 
Erzerum isn't invested by a long chalk. The Rus- 
sians are round it in a broad half-moon. That means 
that all the west, south-west, and north-west is open 
and undefended by trench-lines. There are flanks far 
away to the north and south in the hills which can be 
turned, and once we get round a flank there's noth- 
ing between us and our friends. . . . I've figured out 
our road," and I traced it on the map. "If we can 
make that big circuit to the west and get over that 
pass unobserved we're bound to strike a Russian 
column the next day. It'll be a rough road, but I 
fancy we've all ridden as bad in our time. But one 
thing we must have, and that's horses. Can we and 
your six ruflians slip off in the darkness on the best 
beasts in this township? If you can manage that, 
we'U do the trick." 

Sandy sat down and pondered. Thank Heaven, he 



was thinking now of action and not of his own con- 

**It must be done," he said at last, "but it won't 
be easy. Hussm*s a great fellow, but as you know 
well, Dick, horses right up at the battle-front arc not 
easy to come by. To-morrow I've got some kind of 
infernal fast to observe, and the next day that woman 
will be coaching me for my part. We'll have to give 
Hussin time. ... I wish to Heaven it could be to- 
night." He was silent again for a bit, and then he 
said: "I believe the best time would be the third night, 
the eve of the Revelation. She's bound to leave me 
alone that night." 

"Right-o," I said. "It won't be much fun sitting 
waiting in this cold sepulchre; but we must keep our 
heads and risk nothing by being in a hurry* Besides, 
if Peter wins through, the Turk will be a busy man 
by the day after to-morrow." 

The key turned in the door and Hussin stole in like 
a shade. It was the signal for Sandy to leave. 

"You fellows have given me a new lease of life,*' 
ht said. "I've got a plan now, and I can set my teeth 
and stick it out." 

He went up to Peter and gripped his hand. "Good 
luck. You're the bravest man I've ever met, and I've 
seen a few." Then he turned abruptly and went 
out, followed by an exhortation from Blenkiron tq 
"Get busy about the quadrupeds." 

« • . . . 

Then we set about equipping Peter for his crusade 
It was a simple job, for we were not rich in prop* 
erties. His get-up, with his thick fur-collared great* 
coat, was not unlike the ordinary Turkish officer seen 
in a dim light. But Peter had no intention of pass- 



ing for a Turk, or indeed of giving anybody the 
chance of seeing him, and he was more concerned to 
fit in with the landscape. So he stripped off the great- 
coat and pulled a grey sweater of mine over his 
jacket, and put on his head a woollen helmet of the 
same colour. He had no need of the map, for he 
had long since got his route by heart, and what was 
once fixed in that mind stuck like wax; but I made 
him take Stumm's plan and paper, hidden below his 
shirt. The big difficulty, I saw, would be getting to 
the Russians without being shot, assuming he passed 
the Turkish trenches. He could only hope that he 
would strike some one with a smattering of English 
or German. Twice he ascended to the roof and came 
back cheerful, for there was promise of wild weather. 

Hussin brought in our supper, and Peter made up 
a parcel of food. Blenkiron and I had both small 
flasks of brandy and I gave him mine. 

Then he held out his hand quite simply, like a good 
diild who is going off to bed. It was too much for 
Blenkiron. With large tears rolling down his face 
he announced that if we all came through, he was 
going to fit him into the softest berth that money could 
buy. I don't think he was iinderstood, for old Peter's 
eyes had now that faraway absorption of the hunter 
who has found game. He was thinking only of his 

Two legs and a pair of very shabby boots vanished 
through the trap, and suddenly I felt utterly lonely 
and desperately sad. The guns were beginning to roar 
again in the east, and in the intervals came the whistle 
of the rising storm. 




THIS chapter is the tale that Peter told me — ^long 
after, sitting beside a stove in the hotel at Ber- 
gen, where we were waiting for our boat. 

He climbed on the roof and shinned down the 
broken bricks of the outer walls. The outbuilding 
we were lodged in abutted on a road, and was out- 
side the proper enceinte of the house. At ordinary 
times I have no doubt there were sentries, but Sandy 
and Hussin had probably managed to clear them off 
this end for a little. Anyhow he saw nobody as he 
crossed the road and dived into the snowy fields. 

He knew very well that he must do the job in the 
twelve hours of darkness ahead of him. The inune- 
diate front of a battle is a bit too public for any one 
to lie hidden in by day, especially when two or three 
feet of snow make everything kenspeckle. Now hurry 
in a job of this kind was abhorrent to Peter's soul,, 
for, like all Boers, his tastes were for slowness and 
sureness, though he could hustle fast enough when 
haste was needed. As he pushed through the winter 
fields he reckoned yp the things in his favour, and 
found the only one the dirty weather. There was 
a high, gusty wind, blowing scuds of snow but never 
coming to any great fall. The frost had gone, and 






the lying snow was as soft as butter. That was all 
to the good, he thought, for a clear, hard night would 
have been the devil. 

The first bit was through farmlands, which were 
seamed with little snow-filled water-furrows. Now 
and then would come a house and a patch of fruit 
trees, but there was nobody abroad. The roads were 
crowded enough, but Peter had no use for roads. I 
can picture him swinging along with his bent back, 
stopping every now and then to sniff and listen, alert 
for the foreknowledge of danger. When he chose 
he could cover country like an antelope. 

Soon he struck a big road full of transports. It 
was the road from Erzerum to the Palantuken pass, 
and he waited his chance and crossed it. After that 
the ground grew rough with boulders and patches of 
thorn-trees, splendid cover where he could move fast 
without worrying. Then he was pulled up suddenly 
on the bank af a river. The map had warned him 
of it, but not that it would be so big. 

It was a torrent swollen with melting snow and 
rains in the hills, and it was running fifty yards wide. 
Peter thought he could have swum it, but he was 
very averse to a drenching. "A wet man makes too 
much noise,'* he said, and besides, there was the off- 
chance that the current would be too much for him. 
So he moved up stream to look for a bridge. 

In ten minutes he found one, a new-made thing of 
trestles, broad enough to take transport wagons. It 
was guarded, for he heard the tramp of a sentry, and 
as he pulled himself up the bank he observed a couple 
of long wooden huts, obviously some kind of billets. 
These were on the near side of the stream, about 
a dozen yards from the bridge. A door stood open 



and a light showed in it, and from within came the 
sound of voices. . . . Peter had a sense of hearing 
like a wild animal, and he could detect even from the 
confused gabble that the voices were German. 

As he lay and listened some one came over the 
bridge. It was an officer, for the sentry saluted. The 
man disappeared in one of the huts. Peter had struck 
the billets and repairing-shop of a squad of German 

He was just going ruefully to retrace his steps and 
try to find a good place to swim the stream when it 
struck him that the officer who had passed him wore 
clothes very like his own. He, too, had had a grey 
sweater and a Balaclava helmet, for even a German 
officer ceases to be dressy on a mid-winter's night in 
Anatolia. The idea came to Peter to walk boldly 
across the bridge and trust to the sentry not seeing 
the difference. 

He slipped round a comer of the hut and marched 
down the road. The sentry was now at the far end, 
which was lucky, for if the worst came to the worst 
he could throttle him. Peter, mimicking the stiff Ger- 
man walk, swung past him, his head down as if to 
protect him from the wind. 

The man saluted. He did more, for he offered con- 
versation. The officer must have been a genial soul. 
"It's a rough night, Captain," he said in German. 
"The wagons are late. Pray God, Michael hasn't 
got a shell in his lot. They've begun putting over 
some big ones." 

Peter grunted good-night in German and strode on. 
He was just leaving the road when he heard a great 
huUoo behind him. 

The real officer must have appeared on his heels, 




and the sentry's doubts had been stirred. A whistle 
was blown, and, looking back, Peter saw lanterns wav- 
ing in the gale. They were coming out to look for 
the duplicate. 

He stood still for a second, and noticed the lights 
spreading out south of the road. He was just about 
to dive off it on the north side when he was aware 
of a difficulty. On that side a steep bank fell to a 
ditch, and the bank beyond bounded a big fiood. He 
could see the dull ruffle of the water under the wind. 

On the road itself he would soon be caught; south 
of it the sr^rrii was beginning; and the ditch itself 
was no place to hide, for he saw a lantern moving 
up it. Peter dropped into it all * the same and made 
a p|an. The side uelow the road was a little under- 
cut and very steep. He resolved to plaster himself 
against it, for he would be hidden from the road, 
and a searcher in the ditch would not be likely to 
explore the unbroken sides. It was always a maxim 
of Peter's that the best hiding-place was the worst, 
the least obvious to the minds of those who were 
looking for you. 

He waited till the lights both in the road and the 
ditch came nearer, and then he gripped the edge with 
his left hand, where some stones gave him purchase, 
dug the toes of his boots into the wet soil, and stuck 
like a limpet. It needed some strength to keep the 
position for long, but the muscles of his arms and 
legs were like whipcord. 

The searcher in the ditch soon got tired, for the 
place was very wet, and joined his comrades on the 
road. They came along, running, flashing the lan- 
terns into the trench, and exploring all the inmiediate 



Then rose a noise of wheels and horses from the 
opposite direction. Michael and the delayed wagons 
were approaching. They dashed up at a great pace, 
driven wildly, and for one horrid second Peter thought 
they were going to spill into the ditch at the very spot 
where he was concealed. The wheels passed so dose 
to the edge that they almost grazed his fingers. Some- 
body shouted an order and they pulled up a yard or 
two nearer the bridge. The others came up and there 
was a consultation. 

Michael swore he had passed no one on the road. 

*^That fool Hannus has seen a ghost/' said the 
officer testily. "It's too cold for this child's play." 

Hannus, almost in tears, repeated his tale. "The 
man spoke to me in good German," he cried. 

"Ghost or no ghost he is safe enough up the road," 
said the officer. "Kind God, that was a big one!" 
He stopped and stared at a shell-burst, for the bom- 
bardment from the east was growing fiercer. 

They stood discussing the fire for a minute and 
then moved off. Peter gave them two minutes' law 
and then clambered back to the highway and set 
off along it at a run. The noise of the shelling and 
the wind, together with the thick darkness, made it 
safe to hurry. 

He left the road at the first chance and took to the 
broken country. The ground was now rising towards 
a spur of the Palantuken, on the far slope of which 
were the Turkish trenches. The night had begun by 
being pretty nearly as black as pitch; even the smoke 
from the shell explosions, which is often visible in 
darkness, could not be seen. But as the wind blew 
the snow-clouds athwart the sky patches of stars came 
out Peter had a compass, but he didn't need to use 



it, for he had a kind of "feel" for landscape, a special 
sense which is bom in savages and can be acquired 
after long experience by the white man. I believe he 
could smell where the north lay. He had settled 
roughly which part of the line he would try, merely 
because of its nearness to the enemy. But he might 
see reason to vary this, and as he moved he began 
to think that the safest place was where the shelling 
was hottest. He didn't like the notion, but it sounded 

Suddenly he began to puzzle over queer things in 
the ground, and, as he had never seen big guns be- 
fore, it took him a moment to fix them. Presently one 
went off at his elbow with a roar like the Last Day. 
These were the Austrian howitzers — ^nothing over 
8-inch, I fancy, but to Peter they looked like leviathans. 
Here, too, he saw for the first time a big and quite 
recent shell-hole, for the Russian guns were searching 
out the position. 'He was so interested in it all that 
he poked his nose where he shouldn't have been, and 
dropped plump into the pit behind a gun-emplace- 

Gunners all the world over are the same — shy 
people, who hide themselves in holes and hibernate 
and mortally dislike being detected. 

A gruff voice cried *'JVer daf^ and a heavy hand 
seized his neck. 

Peter was ready with his story. He belonged to 
Michael's wagon-team and had been left behind. He 
wanted to be told the way to the sappers' camp. He 
was very apologetic, not to say obsequious. 

"It is one of those Prussian swine from the Marta 
Bridge," said a gunner. "Land him a kick to teach 



him sense. Bear to your right, mannikin, and you 
will find a road. And have a care when you get there, 
•for the Russkoes are registering on it." 

Peter thanked them ^nd bore off to the right. 
After that he kept a wary eye on the howitzers, and 
was thankful when he got out of their area on to 
the slopes up the hill. Here was the type of country 
that was familiar to him, and he defied any Turk or 
Boche to spot him among the scrub and boulders. 
He was getting on very well, when once more, close 
to his ear, came a sound like the crack of doom. 

It was the field-guns now, and the sound of a field- 
gun close at hand is bad for the nerves if you aren't 
expecting it. Peter thought he had been hit, and 
lay flat for a little to consider. Then he found the 
right explanation, and crawled forward very warily. 

Presently he saw his first Russian shell. It dropped 
half a dozen yards to his right, making a great hole 
in the snow and sending up a mass of mixed earth, 
snow, and broken stones. Peter spat out the dirt and 
felt very solemn. You must remember that never in 
his life had he seen big shelling, and was now being 
landed in the thick of a first-class show without any 
preparation. He said he felt cold in his stomach, 
and very wishful to run away, if there had been any- 
where to run to. But he kept on to the crest of the 
ridge, over which a big glow was broadening like 
a sunrise. There he got his face between two boulders 
and looked over into the true battle-field. 

He told me it was exactly what the predikant used 
to say that Hell would be like. About fifty yards 
down the slope lay the Turkish trenches — ^they were 
quite dark against the snow, and now and then a 
black figure like a devil showed for an instant and dis- 



appeared. The Turks clearly expected an infantry 
attack, for they were sending up calcium rockets and 
Verey flares- The Russians were battering their line 
and spraying all the hinterland, not with shrapnel, 
but with good, solid high-explosives. The place would 
be as bright as day for a moment, all smothered in 
a scurry of smoke and snow and debris, and then 
a black pall would fall on it, when only the thunder 
of the guns told of the battle. 

Peter felt very sick. He had not believed there 
could be so much noise in the world, and the drums 
of his ears were splitting. Now, for a man to whom 
courage is habitual, the taste of fear — naked, utter 
fear — is a horrible thing. It seems to wash away all 
his manhood. Peter lay on the crest, watching the 
shells burst, and confident that any moment he might 
be a shattered remnant. He lay and reasoned with 
himself, calling himself every name he could think 
of, but conscious that nothing would get rid of that 
lump of ice below his heart. 

Then he could stand it no longer. He got up and 
ran for his life. 

But he ran forward. 

It was the craziest performance. He went hell-for- 
leather over a piece of ground which was being wa- 
tered with H.E., but by the mercy of Heaven noth- 
ing hit him. He took some fearsome tosses in shell- 
holes, but partly erect and partly on all fours he did 
the fifty yards and tumbled into a Turkish trench right 
on the top of a dead man. 

The contact with that body brought him to his 
senses. That men could die at all seemed a comfort-^ 
ing, homely thing after that unnatural pandemonium. 



The next moment a crump took the parapet of the 
trench some yards to his left, and he was half buried 
in an avalandie. 

He crawled out of that, pretty badly cut about the 
head. He was quite cool now and thinking hard about 
his next step. There were men all around him, sullen 
dark faces as he saw them when the fiares went up. 
They were manning the parapets and waiting tenseljr 
for something else than the shelling. They paid no 
attention to him, for I fancy in that trench units were 
pretty well mixed up, and under a bad bombardment 
no one bothers about his neighbour. He found him- 
self free to move as he pleased. The ground of the 
trench was littered with empty cartridge-cases, and 
there were many bodies. 

The last shell, as I have said, had played havoc with 
the parapet. In the next spell of darkness Peter 
crawled through the gap and twisted among some 
snowy hillocks. He was no longer afraid of shells, 
any more than he was afraid of a veld thunder-storm. 
But he was wondering very hard how he should ever 
get to the Russians. The Turks were behind him 
now, but there was the biggest danger in front. 

Then the artillery ceased. It was so sudden that 
he thought he had gone deaf, and could hardly realise 
the blessed relief of it. The wind, too, seemed to have 
fallen, or perhaps he was sheltered by the lee of the 
hill. There were a lot of dead here also, and that 
he couldn't understand, for they were new dead. Had 
the Turks attacked and been driven back? When he 
had gone about thirty yards he stopped to take his 
bearings. On the right were the ruins of a lat^e 
building set on fire by the guns. There was a blur 
of woods and the debris of walls round it. Away 



to the left another hill ran out farther to the east, 
and the place he was in seemed to be a kind of cup 
between die spurs. Just before him was a little ruined 
building, with the sky seen through its rafters, for the 
smouldering ruin on the right gave a certain light. He 
wondered if the Russian firing-line lay there. 

Just then he heard voices — smothered voices — ^not 
a yard away and apparently below the ground. He 
instantly jumped to what this must mean. It was 
a Turkish trench— -a communication trench. Peter 
didn't know much about modem war, but he had read 
in the papers, or heard from me, enough to make him 
draw the right moral. The fresh dead pointed to 
the same conclusion. What he had got through were 
the Turkish support trenches, not their firing-line. 
That was still before him. 

He didn't despair, for the rebound from panic had 
made him extra courageous. He crawled forward, an 
inch at a time, taking no sort of risks, and presently 
found himself looking at the parados of a trench. 
Then he lay quiet to think out the next step. 

The shelling had stopped, and there was that queer 
kind of peace which falls sometimes on two armies 
not a quarter of a mile distant. Peter said he could 
hear nothing but the far-off sighing of the wind. 
There seemed to be no movement of any kind in the 
trench before him, which ran through the ruined build- 
ing. The light of the burning was dying, and he could 
just make out the mound of earth a yard in front. 
He began to feel hungry, and got out his packet of 
food and had a swig at the brandy fiask. That com- 
forted him, and he felt a master of his fate again. 
But the next step was not so easy. He must find out 
what lay behind that mound of earth. 



Suddenly a curious sound fell on his ears. It wat 
so faint that at first he doubted the evidence of his 
senses. Then as the wind fell it came louder. It was 
exactly like some hollow piece of metal being struck 
by a stick, musical and oddly resonant. 

He concluded it was the wind blowing a branch of 
a tree against an old boiler in the ruin before him. 
The trouble was that there was scarcely enough wind 
now for that in this sheltered cup. 

But as he listened he caught the note again. It 
was a belly a fallen bell, and the place before him 
must have been a chapel. He remembered that an 
Armenian monastery had been marked on the big map, 
and he guessed it was the burned building on his 

The thought of a chapel and ti bell gave him the 
notion of some human agency. And then suddenly 
the notion was confirmed. The sound was regular and 
concerted — dot, dash, dot — dash, dot, dot. The 
branch of a tree and the wind may play strange 
pranks, but they do not produce the longs and shorts 
of the Morse Code. 

This was where Peter's intelligence work in the 
Boer War helped him. He knew the Morse, he could 
read it, but he could make nothing of the signalling. 
It was either in some special code or in a strange 

He lay still and did some calm thinking. There 
was a man in front of him, a Turkish soldier, who 
was in the enemy's pay. Therefore he could frater- 
nise with him, for they were on the same side. But 
how was he to approach him without getting shot in 
the process? Again, how could a man send signals 
to the enemy from a firing-line without being detected? 



Peter found an answer in the strange configuration 
of the ground. He had not heard a sound till he 
was a few yards from the place, and they would be 
inaudible to men in the reserve trenches and even in 
the communication trenches. If somebody moving up 
the latter caught the noise, it would be easy to explain 
it naturally. But the wind blowing down the cup would 
carry it far in the enemy's direction. 

There remained the risk of being heard by those 
parallel with the bell in the firing trenches. Peter 
concluded that that trench must be very thinly held, 
probably only by a few observers, and the nearest 
might be a dozen yards off. He had read about that 
being the French fashion under a big bombardment. 

The next thing was to find out how to make him- 
self known to this ally. He decided that the only way 
was to surprise him. He might get shot, but 
he trusted to his strength and agility against a man 
who was almost certainly wearied. When he had got 
him safe, explanations might follow. 

Peter was now enjoying himself hugely. If only 
those infernal guns kept silent he would play out the 
game in the sober, decorous way he loved. So very 
delicately he began to wriggle forward to where the 
sound was. 

The night was now as black as ink round him, and 
very quiet, too, except for soughings of the dying 
gale. The snow had drifted a little in the lee of the 
ruined walls, and Peter's progress was naturally very 
slow. He could not afford to dislodge one ounce of 
snow. Still the tinkling went on, now in greater vol- 
ume, and Peter was in terror lest it should cease 
before he got his man. 

Presently his hand clutched at empty space. He 



was on the lip of the front trench. The sound was 
now a yard to his right, and with infinite care he 
shifted his position. Now the bell was just below him, 
and he felt the big rafter of the woodwork from which 
it had fallen. He felt something else — a stretch of 
wire fixed in the ground with the far end hanging 
in the void. That would be the spy*s explanation if 
any one heard the sound and came seeking the 

Somewhere in the darkness before and below him 
was the man, not a yard off. Peter remained very 
still, studying the situation. He could not see, but 
he could feel the presence, and he was trying to de- 
cide the relative position of man and bell and their 
exact distance from him. The thing was not so easy 
as it looked, for if he jumped for where he believed 
the figure was^ he might miss it and get a bullet in 
the stomach. A man who played so risky a game 
was probably handy with his firearms. Besides, if 
he should hit the bell, he would make a hideous row 
and alarm the whole front. 

Fate suddenly gave him the right chance. The un- 
seen figure stood up and moved a step, till his back 
was against the parados.' He actually brushed against 
Peter's elbow, who held his breath. 

There is a catch which the Kaffirs have which would 
need several diagrams to explain. It is partly a neck 
hold, and partly a paralysing backward twist of the 
right arm, but if it is practised on a man from be- 
hind, it locks him as sure as if he were handcuffed. 
Peter slowly got his body raised and his knees drawn 
under him, and reached for his prey. 

He got him. A head was pulled backward over 
the edge of the trench, and he felt in the air the mo- 



tion of the left arm pawing feebly but unable to reach 

"Be still," whispered Peter in German; "I mean 
you no harm. We are friends of the same purpose. 
Do you speak German?" 

^'Nein/^ said a muffled voice. 


"Yes," said the voice. 

"Thank God," said Peter. "Then we can under- 
stand each other. Fve watched your notion of sig- 
nalling, and a very good one it is. Fve got to get 
through to the Russian lines somehow before morn- 
ing, and I want you to help me. Fm English — 
a kind of English, so weVe on the same side. If I 
let go your neck will you be good and talk reason- 

The voice assented. Peter let go, and in the same 
instant slipped to the side. The man wheeled round 
and flung out an arm but gripped vacancy. 

"Siteady, friend," said Peter; "you mustn't play 
tricks with me or FU be angry." 

"Who are you? Who sent you?" asked the puz- 
zled voice. 

Peter had a happy thought. "The Companions of 
the Rosy Hours," he said. 

"Then are we friends indeed," said the voice. 
"Come out of the darkness, friend, and I will do you 
no harm. I am a good Turk, but I fought beside the 
English in Kordofan, and I learned their tongue. I 
live only to see the ruin of Enver, who has beggared 
my family and slain my twin brother. Therefore I 
serve the Muscov ghiaours/* 

"I don't know what the Musky Jaws are, but if 
you mean the Russians Fm with you. Fve got news 



for them which will make Envcr green. The ques- 
tion is, how I'm to get to them, and that is where 
you shall help me, my friend." 


"By playing that little tune of yours again. Tell 
them to expect within the next half-hour a deserter 
with an important message. Tell them, for God's 
sake, not to fire at anybody till they've made certain 
it isn't me." 

The man took the blunt end of his bayonet and 
squatted beside the bell. The first stroke brought 
out a clear, searching note which floated down the 
valley. He struck three notes at slow intervals. For 
all the world, Peter said, he was like a telegraph oper- 
ator calling up a station. 

"Send the message in English," said Peter. 

"They may not understand it," said the man. 

"Then send it anyway you like. I trust you, for 
we are brothers." 

After ten minutes the man ceased and listened. 
From far away came the sound of a trench-gong, 
the kind of thing they used on the Western Front to 
give the gas-alarm. 

"They say they will be ready," he said. "I cannot 
take down messages in the darkness, but they have 
given me the signal which means ^Consent.' '* 

"Come, that is pretty good," said Peter. "And now 
I must be moving. You take a hint from me. When 
you hear big firing up to the north get ready to beat 
a quick retreat, for it will be all up with that city 
of yours. And tell your folk, too, that they're making 
a bad mistake letting these fool Germans rule their 
land. Let them hang Enver and his little friends, 
and we'll all be happy once more." 



"May Satan receive his soul 1" said the Turk. 
"There is wire before us, but I will show you a way 
through. The guns this evening made many rents in 
it. But haste, for a working party may be here pres- 
ently to repair it. Remember there is much wire be- 
fore the other lines." 

Peter, with certain directions, found it pretty easy 
to make his way through the entanglement. There 
was one bit which scraped a hole in his back, but 
very soon he had come to the last posts and found 
himself in the open country. The place, he said, 
was a graveyard of the unburied dead that smelt 
horribly as he crawled among them. He had no in- 
ducements to delay, for he thought he could hear 
behind him the movement of the Turkish working 
party, and was in terror that a flare might reveal him 
and a volley accompany his retreat. 

From one shell-hole to another he wormed his way, 
till he struck an old ruinous communication trench 
which led in the right direction. The Turks must 
have been forced back in the past week, and the Rus- 
sians were now in their former trenches. The thing 
was half full of water, but it gave Peter a feeling 
of safety, for it enabled him to get his head below 
the level of the ground. Then it came to an end 
and he found before him a forest of wire. 

The Turk in his signal had mentioned half an hour, 
but Peter thought it was nearer two hours before he 
got through that noxious entanglement. Shelling had 
made little difference to it. The uprights were all 
there, and the barbed strands seemed to touch the 
ground. Remember, he had no wire-cutter; nothing 
but his bare hands. Once again fear got hold of him. 
He felt caught in a net, with monstrous vultures wait- 



ing to pounce on him from above. At any moment 
a flare might go up and a dozen rifles find their mark. 
He had altogether forgotten about the message which 
had been sent, for no message could dissuade the ever- 
present death he felt around him. It was, he said, 
like following an old lion into bush when there was 
but one narrow way in, and no road out. 

The guns began again — the Turkish guns from be- 
hind the ridge — and a shell tore up the wire a short 
way before him. Under cover of the burst he made 
good a few yards, leaving large portions of his cloth* 
ing in the strands. Then quite suddenly, when hope 
had almost died in his heart, he felt the ground rise 
steeply. He lay very still, a star-rocket from the Turk- 
ish side lit up the place, and there in front was a 
rampart with the points of bayonets showing beyond 
it. It was the Russian hour for stand-to. 
. He raised his cramped limbs from the ground and 
shouted, "Friend! English 1" 

A face looked down at him, and then the darkness 
again descended. 

"Friend," he said hoarsely. "English." 

He heard speech behind the parapet. An electric 
torch was flashed on him for a second. A voice spoke, 
a friendly voice, and the sound of it seemed to be 
telling him to come over. 

He was now standing up^ and as he got his hands 
on the parapet he seemed to feel bayonets very near 
him. But the voice that spoke was kindly, so with a 
heave he scrambled over and flopped into the trench. 
Once more the electric torch was flashed and revealed 
to the eyes of the onlookers an indescribably dirty, 
lean, middle-aged man with a bloody head, and scarcely 



a rag of shirt on his back. The said man, seeing 
friendly faces arOund him, grinned cheerfully. 

"That was a rough trek, friends," he said; "I want 
to see your general pretty quick, for I've got a present 
for him." 

He was taken to an officer in a dug-out, who 
addressed him in French, which he did not understand. 
But the sight of Stumm's plan worked wonders. After 
that he was fairly bundled down communication 
trenches and then over swampy fields to a farm among 
trees. There he found staff officers, who looked at 
him and looked at his map, and then put him on a 
horse and hurried him eastwards. At last he came 
to a big ruined house, and was taken into a room 
which seemed to be full of maps and generals. 

The conclusion must be told in Peter's words. 

'^There was a big man sitting at a table drinking 
coffee, and when I saw him my heart jumped out of 
my skin. For it was the man I hunted with on the 
Pungwe in '98 — him whom the Kaffirs called 'Buck's 
Horn,' because of his long curled moustaches. He was 
a prince even then, and now he is a very great general. 
When I saw him, I ran forward and gripped his hand 
and cried, ''Hoe gat hat, Mynheerf and he knew me 
and shouted in Dutch, 'Damn, if it isn't old Peter 
Pienaar I' Then he gave me coffee and ham and good 
bread, and he looked at my map. 

What is this ?' he cried, growing red in the face. 
'It is the staff-map of one Stumm, a German 
skellum who commands in yon city,' I said. 

"He looked at it close and read the markings, and 
then he read the other paper which you gave me, 
Dick. And then he fiung up his arms and laughed. 
He took a loaf and tossed it into the air so that it 



fell on the head of another general. He spoke to 
them in their own tongue, and they too laughed, and 
one or two ran out as if on some errand. I have never 
seen such merrymaking. They were clever men, and 
knew the worth of what you gave me. 

^^Then he got to his feet and hugged me, all dirty 
as I was, and kissed me on both cheeks. 

** 'Before God, Peter,' he said, 'you're the mightiest 
hunter since Nimrod. YouVe often found me game^ 
but never game so big as thisT " 




IT was a wise man who said that the biggest kind 
of courage was to be able to sit still. I used to feel 
that when we were getting shelled in the reserve 
trenches before Vermelles. I felt it before we went 
over the parapets at Loos, but I never felt it so much 
as on the last two days in that cellar. I had simply 
to set my teeth and take a pull on myself. Peter 
had gone on a crazy errand which I scarcely believed 
could come off. There were no signs of Sandy; some- 
where within a hundred yards he was fighting his 
own battles, and I was tormented by the thought that 
he might get jumpy again and wreck everything. A 
strange Companion brought us food, a man who spoke 
only Turkish and could tell us nothing; Hussin, I 
judged, was busy about the horses. If I could only have 
done something to help on matters I could have scotched 
my anxiety, but there was nothing to be done, nothing 
but wait and brood. I tell you I began to sympathise 
with the general behind the lines in a battle, the fellow 
who makes the plan which others execute. Leading a 
charge can be nothing like so nerve-shaking a business 
as sitting in an easy-chair and waiting on the news 
of it. 

It was bitter cold, and we spent most of the day 
wrapped in our greatcoats and buried deep in the 




straw. Blenkiron was a marvel. There was no light 
for him to play Patience by, but he never complained. 
He slept a lot of the time, and when he was awake 
talked as cheerily as if he were starting out on a holi- 
day. He had one great comfort, his dyspepsia was 
gone. He sang hymns constantly to the benign Provi- 
dence that had squared his duo-denum. 

My only occupation was to listen for the guns. The 
first day after Peter left they were very quiet on 
the front nearest us, but in the late evening tiiey started 
a terrific racket. The next day they never stopped 
from dawn to dusk, so that it reminded me of that 
tremendous forty-eight hours before Loos. I tried to 
read into this some proof that Peter had got through, 
but it would not work. It looked more like the oppo- 
site, for this desperate hammering must mean that the 
frontal assault was still the Russian game. 

Two or three times I climbed on the housetop for 
fresh air. The day was foggy and damp, and I could 
see very little of the countryside. Transport was still 
bumping southward along the road to the Palantuken, 
and the slow wagon4oads of wounded returning. One 
thing I noticed, however. There was a perpetual 
coming and going between the house and the city. 
Motors and mounted messengers were constantly ar- 
riving and departing, and I concluded that Hilda von 
Einem was getting ready for her part in the defence 
of Erzerum. 

These ascents were all on the first day after Peter*s 
going. The second day, when I tried the trap, I found 
it closed and heavily weighted. This must have been 
done by our friends, and very right too. If the house 
were becoming a place of public resort, it would never 
do for me to be journeying roofward. 



Late on the second night Hussin reappeared. It 
was after supper, when Blenkiron had gone peace- 
fully to sleep and I was beginning to count the hours 
till the morning. I could not close an eye during these 
days and not much at night. 

Hussin did not light a lantern. I heard his key in 
the lock, and then his light step close to where we lay. 

"Are you asleep?" he said, and when I answered 
he sat down beside me. 

**The horses are found," he said, "and the Master 
bids me tell you that we start in the morning three 
hours before dawn." 

It was welcome news. "Tell me what is happen- 
ing," I begged; "we have been lying in this tomb for 
three days and heard nothing." 

"The guns are busy," he said. "The AUemans come 
to this place every hour, I know not for what. Also 
there has been a great search for you. The searchers 
have been here, but they were sent away empty. . . . 
Sleep, my lord, for there is wild work before us." 

I did not sleep much, for I was strung too high 
with expectation, and I envied Blenkiron his now 
eupeptic slumbers. But for an hour or so I dropped 
off, and my old nightmare came back. Once again 
I was in the throat of a pass, hotly pursued, strain- 
ing for some sanctuary which I knew I could not 
reach; But I was no longer alone. Others were with 
me : how many I could not tell, for when I tried to 
see their faces they dissolved in mist. Deep snow was 
underfoot, a grey sky was over us, black peaks were 
on all sides, but ahead in the mist of the pass was 
that curious castrol which I had first seen in my dream 
on the Erzerum road. 

I saw it distinct in every detail. It rose to the 



left of the road through the pass^ above a hollow 
where great boulders stood out in the snow. Its sides 
were steep, so that the snow had slipped off in patches, 
leaving stretches of glistening black shale. The kranz 
at the top did not rise sheer, but sloped at an angle 
of forty-five, and on the very summit there seemed 
a hollow, as if the earth within the rock-rim had been 
beaten by weather into a cup. That is often the way 
with a South African castrol, and I knew it was so 
with this. We were straining for it, but the snow 
clogged us, and our enemies were very close behind. 

Then I was awakened by a figure at my side. "Get 
ready, my lord," it said; "it is the hour to ride." 


Like sleep-walkers we moved into the sharp air. 
Hussin led us out of an old postern and then through 
a place like an orchard to the shelter of some tall 
evergreen trees. There horses stood, diamping qui- 
etly from their nose-bags. "Good," I thought; "a 
feed of oats before a big effort." 

There were nine beasts for nine riders. We 
mounted without a word and filed through a grove 
of trees to where a broken paling marked the be^n- 
ning of cultivated land. There for the matter of 
twenty minutes Hussin chose to guide us through deep, 
\ clogging snow. He wanted to avoid any sound till 

we were well beyond earshot of the house. Then we 
struck a by-path which presently merged in a hard high- 
way, running, as I judged, south-west by west. There 
we delayed no longer, but galloped furiously into 
the dark. 

I had got back all my exhilaration. Indeed I was 
intoxicated with the movement, and could have laughed 
out loud and sung. Under the black canopy of the 



night perils are either forgotten or terribly alive. 
Mine were forgotten. The darkness I galloped into 
led me to freedom and friends. Yes, and successi 
which I had not dared to hope and scarcely even to 
dream of. 

Hussin rode first, with me at his side. I turned my 
head and saw Blenkiron behind me, evidently mor- 
tally unhappy about rfie pace we rode and the mount 
he sat. He used to say that horse-exercise was good 
for his liver, but it was a gentle amble and a short 
gallop that he liked, and not this mad helter-skelter. 
His thighs were too round to fit a saddle-leather. We 
passed a fire in a hollow, the bivouac of some Turk- 
ish unit, and all the horses shied violently. I knew 
by Blenkiron^s oaths that he had lost his stirrups and 
was sitting on his horse's neck. 

Beside him rode a tall figure swathed to the eyes 
in wrappings, and wearing round his neck some kind 
of shawl whose ends floated behind him. Sandy, of 
course, had no European ulster, for it wM months 
since he had worn proper clothes. I wanted to speak 
to him, but somehow I did not dare. His stillness for- 
bade me. He was a wonderful fine horseman, with 
his firm English hunting seat, and it was as well, for 
he paid no attention to his beast. His head was still 
full of unquiet thoughts. 

Then the air around me began to smell acrid am] 
raw, and I saw that a fog was winding up from the 

"Herc*s the devil's own luck," I cried to Hussin. 
"Can you guide us in a mist?" 

"I do not know." He shook his head. "I had 
counted on seeing the shape of the hills." 


"We've a map and a compass, anyhow. But those 
make slow travelling. Pray God it lifts 1'' 

Presently the black vapour changed to grey, and 
the day broke. It was little comfort. The fog rolled 
in waves to the horses' ears, and riding at the head 
of the party I could but dimly see the next rank. 

"It is time to leave the road," said Hussin, "or we 
may meet inquisitive folk." 

We struck to the left, over ground which was for 
all the world like a Scotch moor. There were pools 
of rain on it, and masses of tangled snow-laden juni- 
pers, and long reefs of wet slaty stone. It was bad 
going, and the fog made It hopeless to steer a good 
course. I had out the map and the compass, and 
tried to fix our route so as to round the flank of a 
spur of the mountains which separated us from the 
valley we were aiming at. 

"There's a stream ahead of us," I said to Hussin. 
"Is it fordable?" 

"It is only a trickle," he said, coughing. "This 
accursed mist is from Eblis." But I knew long be- 
fore we reached it that it was no trickle. It was a 
hill stream coming down in spate, and, as I soon 
guessed, in a deep ravine. Presently we were at its 
edge, one long whirl of yeasty falls and brown rapids. 
We could as soon get horses over it as to the top- 
most cliffs of the Palaiituken. 

Hussin stared at it in consternation. "May Allah 
forgive my folly, for I should have known. We must 
return to the highway and find a bridge. My sorrow, 
that I should have led my lords so ill." 

Back over that moor we went with my spirits badly 
damped. We had none too long a start, and Hilda 
von Einem would rouse heaven and earth to catch 



us up. Hussin was forcing the pace, for his anxiety 
was as great as mine. 

Before we reached the road the mist blew back and 
showed a wedge of country right across to the hills 
beyond the river. It was a clear view, every object 
standing out wet and sharp in the light of morning. 
It showed the bridge with horsemen drawn up across 
it, and it showed, too, cavalry pickets moving down 
the road. 

They saw us at the same instant. A word was 
passed down the road, a shrill whistle blew, and the 
pickets put their horses at the bank and started across 
the moor. 

"Did I not say this mist was from Eblis ?" growled 
Hussin, as we swung round and galloped on our 
tracks. "These cursed Zaptiehs have seen us, and 
our road is cut.'* 

I was for trying the stream at all costs, but Hussin 
pointed out that it would do us no good. The cavalry 
beyond the bridge were moving up the other bank. 
"There is a path through the hills that I know, but 
it must be travelled on foot. If we can increase 
our lead and the mist cloaks us, there is yet a chance." 

It was a weary business plodding up to the skirts of 
the hills. We had the pursuit behind us now, and that 
put an edge on every difficulty. There were long banks 
of broken screes, I remember, where the snow slipped 
in wreaths from under our feet. Great boulders had 
to be circumvented, and patches of bog, where the 
streams from the snows first made contact with the 
plains, mired us to our girths. Happily the mist was 
down again, but this, though it hindered the chase, 
lessened the chances of Hussin finding the .path. 

He found it neV^ertheless. There was the gully and 



the rough mule-track leading upwards. But there also 
had been a landslip, quite recent from the marks. A 
large scar of raw earth had broken across the hill- 
side, which with the snow above it looked like a slice 
cut out of an iced chocolate-cake. 

We stared blankly for a second, till we recognised 
its hopelessness. 

"I'm for trying the crags," I said. "Where there 
once was a way another can be found.'* 

"And be picked off at their leisure by these marks- 
men," said Hussin grimly. "Lookl" 

The mist had opened again, and a glance behind 
showed me the pursuit closing up on us. They were 
now less than three hundred yards off. We turned 
our horses and made off eastward along the skirts 
of the cliffs. 

Then Sandy spoke for the first time. "I don't know 
how you fellows feel, but I'm not going to be takeni. 
There's nothing much to do except to find a good place 
and put up a fight. We can sell our lives dearly." 

"That's about all," said Blenkiron cheerfully. He 
had suffered such tortures on that gallop that he wel- 
comed any kind of stationary fight. 

"Serve out the arms," said Sandy. 

The Companions all carried rifles slung across their 
shoulders. Hussin, from a deep saddle-bag, brought 
out rifles and bandoliers for the rest of us. As I 
laid mine across my saddle-bow I saw it was a Ger- 
man Mauser of the latest pattern. 

"It's hell-for-leather till we find a place for a stand," 
said Sandy. "The game's against us this time." 

Once more we entered the mist, and presently found 
better going on a long stretch of even slope. Then 
came a^ rise, and on the crest of it I saw the sun. Pres* 







ently we dipped into bright daylight and looked down 
on a broad glen, with a road winding up it to a pass 
in the range. I had expected this. It was one way 
to the Palantuken pass, some miles south of the house 
where we had been lodged. 

I And then, as I looked southward, I saw what I had 
been watching for for' days. A little hill split the val- 
ley, and on its top was a kranz of rocks. It was the 
castrol of my persistent dream. 

On that I promptly took charge. "There's our 
fort," I cried. **If we once get there we can hold 
it for a week. Sit down and ride for it." 

We bucketed down that hillside like men possessed, 
even Blenkiron sticking on manfully among the twists 
and turns and slithers. Presently we were on the road 
and were racing past marching infantry and gun teams 
and empty wagons. I noted that all seemed to be 
moving downward and none going up. Hussin 
screamed some words in Turkish that secured us a 
passage, but indeed our crazy speed left them staring. 
Out of a comer of my eye I saw that Sandy had flung 
off most of his wrappings and seemed to be all a daz- 
zle of rich colour. But I had thought for nothing ex- 
cept the little hill, now almost fronting us across the 
shallow glen. 

No horses could breast that steep. We urged them 
into the hollow, and then hastily dismounted, humped 
the packs, and began to struggle up the side of the 
castrol. It was strewn with great boulders, which gave 
a kind of cover that very soon was needed. For, 
snatching a glance back, I saw that our pursuers were 
on the road above us and were getting ready to 

At normal times we would have been easy marks, 



but, fortunately, wisps and streamers of mist now 
clung about that hollow. The rest could fend for 
themselves, so I stuck to Blenkiron and dragged him, 
wholly breathless, by the least exposed route. Bullets 
spattered now and then against the rocks, and one 
sang unpleasantly near my head. In this way we 
covered three-fourths of the distance, and had only the 
bare dozen yards where the gradient eased o£f up to 
the edge of the kranz. 

Blenkiron got hit in the leg, our only casualty. 
There was nothing for it but to carry him, so I swung 
him on my shoulders, and with a bursting heart did 
that last lap. It was hottish work, and the bullets 
were pretty thick about us, but we all got safely to the 
kranz and a short scramble took us over the edge. I 
laid Blenkiron inside the castrol and started to pre- 
pare our defence. 

We had little time to do it. Out of the thin fog 
figures were coming, crouching in cover. The place 
we were in was a natural redoubt, except that there 
were no loopholes or sandbags. We had to show 
our heads over the rim to shoot, but the danger was 
lessened by the superb field of fire given by those last 
dozen yards of glacis. I posted the men and waited, 
and Blenkiron, with a white face, insisted on taking^his 
share, announcing that he used to be handy with at 

I gave the order that no man was to shoot till the 
enemy had come out of the rocks on to the glacis. 
The thing ran right round the top, and we had to 
watch all sides to prevent them getting us in flank or 
rear. Hussin's rifle cracked out presently from the 
back, so my precautions had not been needless. 

We were all fair shots, though none of us up to 



Peter's miraculous standard, and even the Companions 
made good practise. The Mauser was the weapon 
I knew best, and I didn't miss much. The attackers 
never had a chance, for their only hope was to rush 
us by numbers, and, the whole party being not above 
two dozen^ they were far too few. I think we killed 
three, for their bodies were left lying, and wounded at 
least six, while the rest fell back towards the road. 
In a quarter of an hour it was all over. 

"These are dogs of Kurds," I heard Hussin say 
fiercely. "Only a Kurdish ghiaour would fire on the 
livery of the Kaaba." 

Then I had a good look at Sandy. He had dis- 
carded shawls and turban and wrappings, and stood 
up in the strangest costume man ever wore in battle. 
Somehow he had procured field^boots and an old pair 
of riding-breeches. Above these, reaching well below 
his middle, he had a wonderful silken jibbah or ephod 
of a bright emerald. I call it silk, but it was like no 
silk I had ever known, so exquisite in the mesh, with 
such a sheen and depth in it. Some strange pattern 
was woven on the breast, which in the dim light I 
could not trace. I'll warrant no rarer or costlier gar- 
ment was ever exposed to lead on a bleak winter hill. 

Sandy seemed unconscious of his garb. His eye, 
listless no more, scanned the hollow. "That's only the 
overture," he cried. "The opera will soon begin. We 
must put a breastwork up in these gaps or they'll pick 
us off from a thousand yards." 

I had meantime roughly dressed Blenkiron's wound 
with a linen rag which Hussin provided. It was a 
ricochet bullet which had chipped into his left shin. 
Then I took a hand with the others in getting up 
our earthwork to complete the circuit of the defence. 



It was no easy job, for we wrought only with our 
knives and had to dig deep down below the snowy 
gravel. As we worked I took stock of our refuge. 

The castrol was a rough circle about ten yards in 
diameter, its interior filled with boulders and loose 
stones, and its parapet about four feet high. The 
mist had cleared for a considerable space, and I could 
see the immediate surroundings. West, beyond the 
hollow was the road we had come, where now the 
remnants of the pursuit were clustered. North, the 
hill fell steeply to the valley bottom, but to the south, 
after a dip, there was a ridge which shut the view. 
East lay another fork of the stream, the chief fork 
I guessed, and it was evidently followed by the main 
road to the pass, for I saw it crowded with transport. 
The two roads seemed to converge somewhere farther 
south out of my sight. 

I guessed we could not be very far from the front, 
for the noise of guns sounded very near, both the 
sharp crack of the field-pieces and the deeper boom 
of the howitzers. More, I could hear the chatter of 
the machine-guns, a magpie note among the baying 
of hounds. I even saw the bursting of Russian shells, 
evidently trying to reach the main road. One big 
fellow — an 8-inch — landed not two yards from a con- 
voy to the east of us, and another in the hollow 
through which we had come. These were clearly rang- 
ing shots, and I wondered if the Russians had observa- 
tion-posts on the heights to mark them. If so, they 
might soon try a curtain, and we would be very near 
its edge. It would be an odd irony if we were the 
target of friendly shells. 

''By the soul of my ancestors,'' I heard Sandy say, 



"if we had a brace of machine-guns we could hold 
this place against a division." 

"What price shells?" I asked. "If they get a gun 
up they can blow us to atoms in ten minutes." 

"Please God the Russians keep them too busy for 
that," was his answer. 

With anxious eyes I watched our enemies on the 
road. They seemed to have grown in numbers. They 
were signalling, too, for a white flag fluttered. Then 
the mist rolled down on us again, and our prospect was 
limited to ten yards of vapour. 

"Steady," I cried; "they may try to rush us at any 
moment. Every man keep his eye on the edge of the 
fog, and shoot at the first sign." 

For nearly half an hour by my watch we -waited 
in that queer white world, our eyes smarting with the 
strain of peering. The sound of the guns seemed to 
be hushed, and everything grown deathly quiet. Blen- 
kiron^s squeal, as he knocked his wounded leg against 
a rock, made every man start. 

Then out of the mist there came a voice. 

It was a woman's voice, high, penetrating, and 
sweet, but it spoke in no tongue I knew. Only Sandy 
understood. He made a sudden movement as if to 
defend himself against a blow. 

The speaker came into clear sight on the glacis a 
yard or two away. Mine was the first face she saw. 

• "I Jome to offer terms," she said in English. "Will 
you permit me to enter?" 

I cduld do nothing except take off my cap and say, 
"Yes, ma'am." Blenkiron, snuggled up against the 
parapet, was cursing furiously below his breath. 

She climbed up the kranz and stepped over the 



edge as lightly as a deer. Her clothes were strange 
—spurred boots and breeches over which fell a short 
green kirtle. A little cap skewered with a jewelled 
pin was on her head, and a cape of some coarse coun- 
try cloth hung from her shoulders. She had rough 
gauntlets on her hands, and she carried for weapon a 
riding-whip. The fog-crystals clung to her hair I 
remember, and a silvery film of fog lay on her 

I had never before thought of her as beautiful. 
Strange, uncanny wonderful, if you like, but the word 
beauty had too kindly and human a sound for such a 
face. But as she stood with heightened colour, her 
eyes like stars, her poise like a wild bird's, I had to 
confess that she had her own loveliness. She might 
be a devil, but she was also a queen. I considered 
that there might be merits in the prospect of riding 
by her side into Jerusalem. 

Sandy stood rigid, his face very grave and set. She 
held out both hands to him, speaking softly in Turkish. 
I noticed that the six Companions had disappeared 
from the castrol and were somewhere out of sight on 
the farther side. 

I do not know what she said, but from her tone, 
and above all from her eyes, I judged that she was 
pleading — ^pleading for his return, for his partnership 
in her great adventure; pleading, for all I knew, for 
his love. 

His expression was like a death-mask, his brows 
drawn tight in a little frown and his jaw rigid. 

**Madam," he said, "I ask you to tell your business 
quick and to tell it in English. My friends must hear 
it as well as me." 

"Your friends 1" she cried. "What has a prince to 



do with these hirelings? Your slaves, perhaps, but 
not your friends." 

"My friends," Sandy repeated grimly. "You must 
know, Madam, that I am a British officer." 

That was beyond doubt a clean, staggering stroke. 
What she had thought of his origin God knows, but 
she had never dreamed of this. Her eyes grew larger 
and more lustrous, her lips parted as if to speak, but 
her voice failed her. Then by an effort she recovered 
herself, and out of that strange face went all the 
glow of youth and ardoun It was again the unholy 
mask I had first known. 

"And these others?" she asked in a level voice. 

"One is a brother officer of my regiment. The 
other is an American. But all three of us are on the 
same errand. We came east to destroy Greenmantle 
and your devilish ambitioris. You have yourself de- 
stroyed your prophets, and now it is your turn to 
fail and disappear. Make no mistake, Madam, that 
folly is over. I wi^l tear this sacred garment into a 
thousand pieces and scatter them on the wind. The 
people wait to-day for the revelation, but none will 
come. You may kill us if you can, but we have at least 
crushed a lie and done service to our country." 

I would not have taken my eyes from her face for 
a king's ransom. I have written that she was a queen, 
and of that there is no manner of doubt. She had 
the soul of a conqueror, for not a flicker of weakness 
or disappointment marred her air. Only pride and 
the stateliest resolution looked out of her eyes. 

"I said I came to offer terms. I wiU still offer 
them, though they are other than I thought. For 
the fat American, I will send him home safely to his 
own country. I do not make war on such as he. He 



Is Germany^s foe, not mine. You,*' she said, turning 
fiercely on me, "I will hang before dusk." 

Never in my life had I been so pleased. I had 
got my revenge at last. This woman had singled me 
out above the others as the object of her wrath, and I 
almost loved her for it. She turned to Sandy, and 
the fierceness went out of her face. 

"You seek truth," she said. "So also do I, and 
if we use a lie it is only to break down a greater. 
You are of my household in spirit, and you alone of 
all men I have seen are fit to ride with me on my 
mission. Germany may fail, but I shall not fail. I 
offer you the greatest career that mortal has known. 
I offer you a task which will need every atom of brain 
and sinew and courage. Will you refuse that 

I do not know what effect this vapouring might 
have had in hot scented rooms, or in the languor of 
some rich garden; but up on that cold hill-top it was 
as unsubstantial as the mist around us. It sounded 
not even impressive, only crazy. 

"I stay with my friends," said Sandy. 

"Then I will offer more. I will save your friends. 
They, too, shall share in my triumph." 

This was too much for Blenkiron. He scrambled 
to his feet to speak the protest that had been wrung 
from his soul, forgot his game leg, and rolled back on 
the ground with a groan. 

Then she seemed to make a last appeal. She spoke 
in Turkish now, and I do not know what she said, 
but I judged it was the plea of a woman to her lover. 
Once more she was the proud beauty, but there was 
a tremor in her pride — I had about written tenderness. 
To listen to her was like horrid treachery, like eaves- 



dropping on something pitiful. I know my checks 
grew scarlet and Blenkiron turned away his head. 

Sandy's face did not move. He spoke in English. 

"You can offer me nothing that I desire," he said. 
"I am the servant of my country, and her enemies 
are mine. I can have neither part nor lot with you. 
That is my answer, Madam von Einem." 

Then her steely restraint broke. It was like a dam 
giving before a pent-up mass of icy water. She tore 
off one of her gauntlets and hurled it in his face. Im- 
placable hate looked out of her eyes. 

"I have done with you," she cried, "You have 
scorned me, but you have dug your own grave." 

She leaped on the parapet and the next second was 
on the glacis. Once more the mist had fled, and across 
the hollow I saw a field-gun in place and men around 
it who were not Turkish. She waved her hand to them, 
and hastened down the hillside. 

But at that moment I heard the whistle of a long- 
range shell. Among the boulders there was the dull 
shock of an explosion and a mushroom of red earth. 
It all passed in an instant of time : I saw the gunners 
on the road point their hands and I heard them cry; 
I heard too a kind of sob from Blenkiron — all this 
before I realised myself what had happened. The 
next thing I saw was Sandy, already beyond the glacis, 
leaping with great bounds down the hill. They were 
shooting at him, but he heeded them not. For the 
space of a minute he was out of sight, and his where- 
abouts was shown only by the patter of bullets. 

Then he came back — ^walking quite slowly up the 
last slope, and he was carrying something in his arms. 
The enemy fired no more; they realised what had 



He laid his burden down gently in a comer of the 
castroL The cap had fallen off, and the hair was 
breaking loose. The face was very white but there 
was no wound or bruise on it. 

"She was killed at once," I heard him saying. "Her 
back was broken by a shell-fragment. Dick, we must 
bury her here. ... You see, she • • • she liked me. 
I can make her no return but this." 

We set the Companions to guard, and with infinite 
slowness, using our hands, and our knives, we made a 
shallow grave below the eastern parapet. When it 
was done we covered her face with the linen doak 
which Saildy had worn that morning. He lifted the 
body and laid it reverently in its place. 

"I did not know that anything could be so light,** 
he said. 

It wasn't for me to look on at that kind of scene. 
I went to the parapet with Blenkiron's field-glasses 
and had a look at our friends on the road. There 
was no Turk there, and I guessed why, for it would 
not be easy to use the men of Islam against the wearer 
of the green ephod. The enemy were German or 
Austrian, and they had a field-gun. They seemed to 
have got it laid on our fort; but they were waiting. 
As I looked I saw behind them a massive figure I 
seemed to recognise. Stumm had come to see the 
destruction of his enemies. 

To the east I saw another gun in the fields just 
below the main road. They had got us on both sides, 
and there was no way of escape. Hilda von Einem 
was to have a noble pyre and goodly company for the 
dark road. 

Dusk was falling now, a clear bright dusk where 



the stars pricked through a sheen of amethyst. The 
artillery were busy all around the horizon, and towards 
the pass on the other road, where Fort Palantuken 
stood, there was the dust and smoke of a furious bom- 
bardment. It seemed to me, too, that the guns on the 
I other fronts had come nearer. Deve Boyun was 
hidden by a spur of hill, but up in the north, white 
clouds, like the streamers of evening, were hanging 
over the Euphrates glen. The whole firmament 
hummed and twanged like a taut string that has been 
struck. . . . 

As I looked, the gun to the west fired — the gun 
where Stumm was. The shell dropped ten yards to 
our right. A second later another fell behind us. 

Blenkiron had dragged himself to the parapet. I 
don*t suppose he had ever been shelled before, but his 
face showed curiosity rather than fear. 

"Pretty poor shooting, I reckon," he said. 

"On the contrary," I said, "they know their busi- 
ness. They're bracketing. . . ." 

The words were not out of my mouth when one fell 
right among us. It struck the far rim of the castrol, 
shattering the rock, but bursting mainly outside. We 
all ducked, and barring some small scratches no one 
was a penny the worse. I remember that much of 
the debris fell on Hilda von Einem's grave. 

I pulled Blenkiron over the far parapet, and called 
on the rest to follow, meaning to take cover on the 
rough side of the hill. But as we showed ourselves 
shots rang out from our front, shots fired from a 
range of a few hundred yards. It was easy to see 
what had happened. Riflemen had been sent to hold 
us in rear. They would not assault so long as we 
remained in the castrol, but they would block any 



attempt to find safety outside it. Stumm and his gun 
had us at their mercy. 

We crouched below the parapet again. "We may 
as well toss for it," I said. "There's only two ways 
— to stay here and be shelled or try to break through 
those fellows behind. Either's pretty unhealthy." 

But I knew there was no choice. With Blenkiron 
crippled we were pinned to the castrol. Our numbers 
were up all right. 




BUT no more shells fell. 
The night grew dark and showed a field of 
glittering stars, for the air was sharpening again 
towards frost. We waited for an hour, crouching just 
behind the far parapets, but never came that ominous 
familiar whistle. 

Then Sandy rose and stretched himself. "I'm 
hungry," he said. "Let's have out the food, Hussin. 
We've eaten nothing since before' daybreak. I wonder 
what is the meaning of this respite?" 

I fancied I knew. "It's Stumm's way. He wants 
to torture us. He'll keep us hours on tenterhooks, 
while he sits over yonder exulting in what he thinks 
we're enduring. He has just enough imagination for 
that. . . . He would rush us if he had the men. As 
it is, he's going to blow us to pieces, but to do it slowly 
and smack his lips over it." 

Sandy yawned. "We'll disappoint him, for we 
won't be worried, old man. We three are beyond 
that kind of fear." 

"Meanwhile we're going to do the best we can," 
I said. "He's got the exact range for his whizz- 
bangs. We've got to find a hole somewhere just out- 
side the castrol, and some sort of head-cover. We're 
bound to. get damaged whatever happens, but we'll 



stidc It out to the end. When they think they have 
finished with us and rush the place, there may be one 
of us alive to put a bullet through old Stumm. What 
do you say?*' 

They agreed, and after our meal Sandy and I 
crawled out to prospect, leaving the others on guard 
in case there should be an attack. We found a hollow 
in the glacis a little south of the castrol, and, working 
very quietly, managed to enlarge it and cut a kind of 
shallow cave in the hill. It would be no use against 
a direct hit, but it would give some cover from flying 
fragments. As I read the situation, Stumm' could land 
as many shells as he pleased in the castrol and wouldn't 
bother to attend to the flanks. When the bad shelling 
began there would be shelter for one or two in the 

Our enemies were watchful. The riflemen on the 
cast burnt Verey flares at intervals, and Stumm's lot 
sent up a great star-rocket I remember that just 
before midnight hell broke loose round Fort Palan- 
tuken. No more Russian shells came into our hollow, 
but all the road to the east was under fire, and at the 
Fort itself there was a shattering explosion and a queer 
scarlet glow which looked as if the magazine had been 
hit. For about two hours the firing was intense, and 
then it died down. But it was towards the north that 
I kept turning my head. There seemed to be some- 
thing different in the sound there, something sharper 
in the report of the guns, as if shells were dropping in 
a narrow valley whose rock walls doubled the echo. 
Had the Russians by any blessed chance worked round 
that flank? 

I got Sandy to listen, but he shook his head. "Those 
guns are a dozen miles off," he said. "They're no 



nearer than three days ago. But it looks as if the 
sportsmen on the south might have a chance. When 
they break through and stream down the valley, they'll 
be puzzled to account for what remains of us. . . . 
We're no longer three adventurers in the enemy's 
country. We're the advance guard of the Allies. 
They don't know about us, and we're going to be cut 
oS, which has happened to advance guards before 
now. But all the same, we're in our own battle-line 
again. Doesn't that cheer you, Dick?" 

It cheered me wonderfully, for I knew now what 
had been the weight on my heart ever since I accepted 
Sir Walter's mission. It was. the loneliness of it. I 
was fighting far away from my friends, far away from 
the true fronts of battle. It was a side-show which, 
whatever its importance, had none of the exhilaration 
of the main effort. But now we had come back (o 
familiar ground. We were like the Highlanders cut 
off at Cite St. Auguste on the first day of Loos, or 
those Scots Guards at Festubert of whom I had heard. 
Only, the others did not know of us, would never hear 
of it. If Peter succeeded he might tell the tale, but 
most likely he was lying dead somewhere in the no- 
man's-land between the lines. We should never be 
heard of again any more, but our work remained. Sir 
Walter would know that, and he would tell our few 
belongings that we had gone out in our country's 

We were in the castrol again, sitting under the para- 
pets. The same thought must have been in Sandy's 
mind, for he suddenly laughed. 

"It's a queer ending, Dick. We simply vanish into 
the infinite. If the Russians get through they will 
never recognise what is left of us among so much of 



the wreckage of battle. The snow will soon cover 
us, and when the spring comes there will only be a 
few bleached bones. Upon my soul it is the kind of 
death I always wanted." And he quoted softly to 
himself a verse of an old Scots ballad: 

"Mony's the ane for him maks mand, 
But nane sail ken wha he is gane. 
Ower his white banes, when they are bare, 
The wind sail blaw for evermair." 

"But our work lives," I cried, with a sudden great 
gasp of happiness. "It's the job that matters, not the 
men that do it. And our job's done. We have won, 
old chap — won hands down — and there is no going 
back on that. We have won anyway; and if Peter 
has had a slice of luck, we've scooped the pool. . . . 
After all, we never expected to come out of this thing 
with our lives." 

Blenkiron, with his leg stuck out stiffly before him, 
was humming quietly to himself, as he often did when 
he felt cheerful. He had only one tune, "John 
Brown's Body" ; usually only a line at a time, but now 
he got as far as a whole verse: 

"He captured Harper's Ferry, with his nineteen men so true, 
And he frightened old Virginny till she trembled through 

and through. 
They hung him for a traitor, themselves the traitor crew, 
But his soul goes marching along." 

"Feeling good?" I asked. 

"Fine. I'm about the luckiest man on God's earth, 
Major. I've always wanted to get into a big show, 
but I didn't see how it would come the way of a homely 
citizen like me, living in a steam-warmed house and 



going down town to my office every morning. I used 
to envy my old dad that fought at Chattanooga, and 
never forgot to tell you about it. But I guess Chatta- 
nooga was like a scrap in a Bowery bar compared to 
this. When I meet the old man in Glory he'll have 
to listen some to me. . • /' 

It was just after Blenkiron spoke that we got a 
reminder of Stumm's presence. The gun was well 
laid, for a shell plumped on the near edge of the 
castroL It made an end of one of the Companions 
who was on guard there, badly wounded another, 
and a fragment gashed my thigh. We took refuge in 
the shallow cave, but some wild shooting from the 
east side brought us back to the parapets, for we 
feared an attack. None came, nor any more shells, 
and once again the night was quiet. 

I asked Blenkiron if he had any near relatives. 

"Why, no, except a sister's son, a coUege-boy who 
has no need of his uncle. It's fortunate that we three 
have no wives. I haven't any regrets, neither, for 
I've had a mighty deal out of life. I was thinking 
this morning that it was a pity I was going out when 
I had just got my duo-denum to listen to reason. But 
I reckon that's another of my mercies. The good 
God took away the pain in my stomach so that I 
might go to Him with a clear head and a thankful 

"We're lucky fellows," said Sandy; "we've all had 
our whack. When I remember tEe good tipaes I've 
had I could sing a hymn of praise. We've lived long 
enough to know ourselves, and to shape ourselves into 
some kind of decency. But think of those boys who 
have given their lives freely when they scarcely knew 



what life meant. They were just at the beginning 
of the road, and they didn't know what dreary bits 
lay before them* It was all sunshiny and bright-col- 
oured, and yet they gave it up without a moment's 
doubt. And think of the men with wives and diil- 
dren and homes which were the biggest things in life 
to them. For fellows like us to shirk would be black 
cowardice. It's small credit for us to stick it out. 
But when those others shut their teeth and went for- 
ward, they were blessed heroes. . . ." 

After tibat we fell silent. A man's thoughts at a 
time like that seem to be double-powered, and the 
memory becomes very sharp and clear. I don't know 
what was in the others' minds, but I know what filled 
my own. • . . 

I don't think it is the men who get most out of the 
world and are always buoyant and cheerful that most 
fear to die. Rather it is the weak-engined souls, who 
go about with dull eyes, that ding most fiercely to 
life. They have not the joy of being alive which 
is a kind of earnest of immortality. ... I know that 
my thoughts were chiefly about the jolly things that I 
had seen and done; not regret, but gratitude. The 
panorama of blue moons on the veld unrolled itself 
before me, and hunter's nights in the bush, the taste 
of food and sleep, the bitter stimulus of dawn, the 
joy of wild adventure, the voices of old staunch friends. 
Hitherto the war had seemed to make a break with 
all that had gone before, but now the war was only 
part of the picture. I thought of my battalion, and 
the good fellows there, many of them who had fallen 
on the Loos parapets. I had never looked to come 
out of that myself. But I had been spared, and given 
the chance of a greater business, and I had succeeded* 




That was the tremendous fact, and my mood was hum- 
ble gratitude to God and exultant pride. Death was 
a small price to pay for it. As Blenkiron would have 
said, I had got good value in the deal! . . . 

The night was getting bitter cold, as happens be- 
fore dawn. It was frost again, and the sharpness of 
It woke our hunger. I got out the remnants of the 
food and wine and we had a last meal. I remember 
pledged each other as we drank. 

"We have eaten our Passover Feast," said Sandy. 
"When do you look for the end?** 

"After dawn," I said. "Stumm wants daylight to 
get the full savour of his revenge." 

Slowly the sky passed from ebony to grey, and 
black shapes of hill outlined themselves against it. 
A wind blew down the valley, bringing the bitter smell 
of burning, but something too of the freshness of 
morn. It stirred strange thoughts in me, and woke 
the old morning vigour of the blood which was never 
to be mine again. For the first time in that long vigil 
I was torn with a sudden regret. 

"We must get into the cave before it is full light," 
I said. "We had better draw lots for the two to go." 

The choice fell on one of the Companions and 

"You can count mc out," said the latter. "If it's 
your wish to find a man to be alive when our friends 
come up to count their spoil, I guess I'm the worst 
of the lot. Fd prefer, if you don't mind, to stay here. 
I've made my peace with my Maker, and I'd like to 
wait quietly on His caU. I'll play a game of Patience 
to pass the time." 



He would take no denial, so we drew again, and the 
lot fell to Sandy. 

"If I'm the last to go," he said, "I promise I don't 
miss. Stumm won't be long in following me." 

He shook hands with his cheery smile, and he and 
the Companion slipped over the parapet in the final 
shadows before dawn. 

Blenkiron spread his Patience cards on a flat rock, 
and dealt out for the Double Napoleon. He was per- 
fectly calm, and hummed to himself his only tune. For 
myself I was drinking in the last draught of the hill 
air. My contentment was going. I suddenly felt 
bitterly loth to die. 

I stood close to the parapet, watching every detail 
of the landscape as shown by the revealing daybreak. 
Up on the shoulders of the Palantuken, snowdrifts 
lipped over the edges of the cliffs. I wondered when 
they would come down as avalanches. There was 
a kind of croft on one hillside, and from a hut the 
smoke of breakfast was beginning to curl. Stunmi's 
gunners were awake and apparently holding council. 
Far down on the main road a convoy was moving — 
I heard the creak of the wheels two miles away, for 
the air was deathly still. 

Then, as if a spring had been loosened, the world 
suddenly leaped to a hideous life. With a growl the 
guns opened round all the horizon. They were espe- 
cially fierce to the south, where a rafale beat as I had 
never heard it before. The one glance I cast behind 
me showed the gap in the hills choked with fumes 
and dust. 

But my eyes were on the north. From Erzenim 
city tall tongues of flame leaped from a dozen quar- 



tcrs. Beyond, toward the opening of the Euphrates 
glen, there was the sharp crack of field-guns. I 
strained eyes and ears, mad with impatience, and I 
read the riddle. 

"Sandy," I yelled, "Peter has got through. The 
Russians have won the flank. The town is burning. 
Glory to God, we've won, we've won 1" 

And as I spoke the earth seemed tO/ split beside 
me, and I was flung forward on the gravel which 
covered Hilda von Einem's grave. 

As I picked myself up, and to my amazement found 
myself uninjured, I saw Blenkiron rubbing the dust 
out of his eyes and arranging a disordered card. He 
had stopped humming, and was singing aloud: 

^'He captured Harper's Ferry, with his nineteen men so true, 
And he frightened old Virginny . . . 

"Say, Major," he cried, "I believe this game of 
mine is coming out." 

I was now pretty well mad. The thought that old 
Peter had won, that we had won beyond our wildest 
dreams, that if we died there were those coming who 
would exact the uttermost vengeance, rode my brain 
like a fever. I sprang on the parapet and waved 
my hand to Stumm, shouting defiance. Rifle shots 
cracked out from behind, and I leaped back just tn. 
time for the next shell. 

The charge must have been short, for it was a bad 
miss, landing somewhere on the glacis. The next was 
better and crashed on the near parapet, carving a great 
hole in the rocky kranz. This time my arm hung limp, 
broken by a fragment of stone, but I felt no pain. 
Blenkiron seemed to bear a charmed life, for he was 



smothered in dust, but unhurt. He blew the dust away 
from his cards very gingerly and went on playing. 

Then came a dud which dropped neatly inside in 
the soft ground. I was determined to break for the > 
open and chance the rifle fire, for if Stumm went on 
shooting the castrol was certain death.. I caught Blen- 
kiron round the middle, scattering his cards to the 
winds, and jumped over the parapet. 

"Don't apologise, Major," said he. "The game 
was as good as won. But for God's sake drop me, 
for if you wave me like the banner of freedom I'll 
get plugged sure and good." 

My one thought was to get cover for the next min- 
utes, for I had an instinct that our vigil was near its 
end. The defences of Erzerum were crumbling like 
sand-castles, and it was a proof of the tenseness of 
my nerves that I seemed to be deaf to the sound. 
Stumm had seen us cross the parapet, and he started 
to sprinkle all the surroundings of the castrol. Blen- 
kiron and I lay like a working-party between the lines 
caught by machine-guns, taking- a pull on Ourselves 
as best we could. Sandy had some kind of cover, 
but we were on the bare farther slope, and the rifle- 
men on that side might have had us at their mercy. 

But no shots came from them. As I looked east, 
the hillside, which a little before had been held by 
our enemies, was as empty as the desert; and then I 
saw on the main road a sight which for a second time 
made me yell like a maniac. Down the glen came a 
throng of men and galloping limbers — a crazy, jostling 
crowd, spreading away beyond the road to the steep 
slopes, and leaving behind it many black dots to darken 
the snows. The gates of the South had yielded, and 
our friends were through them. 



At that sight I forgot all about our danger. I 
didn't give a cent for Stumm's shells. I didn't be- 
lieve he could hit me. The fate which had mercifully 
preserved us for the first taste of victory would see 
us through to the end. 

I remember bundling Blenkiron along the hill to find 
Sandy. But our news was anticipated. For down on 
our side-glen came the same broken tumult of men. 
More; for on their backs, far up at the throat of the 
pass, I saw horsemen — ^thc horsemen of the pursuit. 
Old Nicholas had flung his cavalry in. 

Sandy was on his feet, with his lips set and his eye 
abstracted. If his face hadn't been burned black by 
weather it would have been pale as a dish-clout. A 
man like him doesn't make up his mind for death and 
then be given his life again without being wrenched 
out of his bearings. I thought he didn't understand 
what had happened, so I beat him on the shoulders. 

"Man, d'you see?" I cried. "The Cossacks 1 The 
Cossacks t God I how they're taking that slope! 
They're into them now. By Heaven, we'll ride with 
them ! We'll get the gun horses I" 

A little knoll prevented Stumm and his men from 
seeing what was happening farther up the glen, till 
the first wave of the rout was on them. He had gone 
on bombarding the castrol and its environs while the 
world was cracking over his head. The gun team was 
in the hollow below the road, and down the hill among 
the boulders we crawled, Blenkiron as lame as a duck, 
and me with a limp left arm. 

The poor beasts were straining at their pickets and 
sniffing at the morning wind, which brought down the 
thick fumes of the great bombardment and the inde- 
scribable babbling cries of a beaten army. Before 



we reached them that maddened horde had swept 
down on them, men panting and gasping in their flight, 
many of them bloody from wounds, many tottering 
in the first stages of collapse and death. I saw the 
horses seized by a dozen hands, and a desperate fight 
for their possession. But as we halted there our eyes 
were fixed on the battery on the road above us, for 
round it was now sweeping the van of the retreat. 

I had never seen a rout before, when strong men 
come to the end of their tether and only their broken 
shadows stumble towards the refuge they never find. 
No more had Stumm, poor devil. I had no ill-will 
left for him, though coming down that hill I was 
rather hoping that the two of us might have a final 
scrap. He was a brute and a bully, but, by God 1 he 
was a man. I heard his great roar when he saw the 
tumult, and the next I saw was his monstrous figure 
working at the gun. He swung it south and turned 
it on the fugitives. 

But he never fired it. The press was on him, and 
the gun was swept sideways. He stood up, a foot 
higher than any of them, and he seemed to be trying 
to check the rush with his pistol. There is power 
in numbers, even though every unit is broken and flee- 
ing. For a second, to that wild crowd Stumm was 
the enemy, and they had strength enough to crush 
him. The wave flowed found and then over him. I 
saw the butt-ends of rifles crash on his head and 
shoulders, and the next second the stream had passed 
over his body. ... 

That was God^s judgment on the man who had set 
himself above his kind. 

Sandy gripped my shoulder and was shoutmg in my 



"They're coming, Dick. Look at the grey devils 1 
• . . Oh, God be thanked it's our friends 1" 

The next minute we were tumbling down the hill- 
side, Blenkiron hopping on one leg between us. I 
heard dimly Sandy qrying, **0h, well done our sideT* 
and Blenkiron declaiming about Harper's Ferry, but 
I had no voice at all and no wish to shout. I know 
that tears were in my eyes, and that if I had been 
left alone I would have sat down and cried with pure 
thankfulness. For sweeping down the glen came a 
cloud of grey cavalry on little wiry horses, a cloud 
which stayed not for the rear of the fugitives, but 
swept on like a flight of rainbows, with the steel of 
their lance-heads glittering in the winter sun. They 
were riding for Erzerum. 

Remember that for three months we had been with 
the enemy and had never seen the face of an Ally in 
arms. We had been cut off from the fellowship of 
a great cause, like a fort surrounded by an army. And 
now we were delivered, and there fell round us the 
warm joy of comradeship as well as the exultation of 

We flung caution to the winds and went stark mad. 
Sandy, still in his emerald coat, was scrambling up 
the farther slope of the hollow, yelling greetings in 
every language known to man. The leader saw him, 
checked his men for a moment, with a word — it was 
marvellous to see the horses reined in in such a break- 
neck ride — and from the squadrons half a dozen 
troopers swung loose and wheeled towards us. Then 
a man in a grey overcoat and a sheepskin cap was on 
the ground beside us wringing our hands. 

*'You are safe, my old friends" — it was Peter's 



voice that spoke — "I will take you back to our army, 
and get you breakfast." 

"No, by the Lord, you won't,'* cried Sandy. "We've 
had the rough end of the job and now we'll have the 
fun. Look after Blenkiron and these fellows of mine. 
I'm going to ride knee by knee with your sportsmen 
for the city." 

Peter spoke a word, and two of the Cossacks dis- 
mounted. The next I knew I was mixed up in the 
cloud of greycoats, galloping down the road up which 
the morning before we had strained to the castroL 

That was the great hour of my life, and to live 
through it was worth a dozen years of slavery. With 
a broken left arm I had little hold on my 1)east, so 
I trusted my neck to him and let him have his will. 
Black with dirt and smoke, hatless, with no kind of 
uniform, I was a wilder figure than any Cossack. I 
soon was separated from Sandy, who had two hands 
and a better beast, and seemed resolute to press for- 
ward to the very van. That would have been suicide 
for me, and I had all I could do to keep my place 
in the bunch I rode with. 

But, great God ! what an hour it was I There 
was loose shooting on our flank, but nothing to 
trouble us, though the gun team of some Austrian 
howitzer, struggling madly at a bridge, gave us a bit 
of a scrap. Everything flitted past me like smoke, or 
like the mad finale of a dream just before waking. 
I knew the living movement under me, and the com- 
panionship of men, but all dimly, for at heart I was 
alone, grappling with the realisation of a new world. 
I felt the shadows of the Falantuken glen fading, and 
the great burst of light as we emerged on the wider 
valley. Somewhcrfc before us was a pall of smoke 



seamed with red flames, and beyond the darkness of 
still higher hills. All that time I was dreaming, croon- 
ing daft catches of song to myself so happy, so de- 
liriously happy that I dared not try to think. I kept 
muttering to myself a kind of prayer made up of Bible 
words to Him who had shown me His goodness in the 
land of the living. 

But as we drew clear of the skirts of the hills and 
began the long slope to the city, I woke to clear con- 
sciousness. I felt the smell of sheepskin and lathered 
horses, and above all the bitter smell of fire. Down 
in the trough lay Erzerum, now burning in many places, 
and from the east, past the silent forts, horsemen were 
drawing in on it. I yelled to my comrades that we 
were nearest, that we would be first in the city, and 
they nodded happily and shouted their strange war- 
cries. As we topped the last ridge I saw below me 
the van of our charge — a dark mass on the snow — 
while the broken enemy on both sides were flinging 
away their arms and scattering in the fields. 

In the very front, now nearing the city ramparts, 
was one man. He was like the point of the steel 
spear soon to be driven home. In the clear morning 
air I could see that he did not wear the uniform of 
the invaders. He was bare-headed, and rode like one 
possessed, and against the snow I caught the dark 
sheen of emerald. As he rode it seemed that the flee- 
ing Turks were stricken still, and sank by the road- 
side with eyes strained after his unheeding figure. . . . 

Then I knew that the prophecy had been true, and 
that their prophet had not failed them. The long- 
looked-for revelation had come. Greenmantle had ap- 
peared at last to an awaiting people. 



7 ■• 



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